Girlfriends (1978)

girlfriends poster 1978 movie
8.5 Overall Score
Story: 8/10
Acting: 9/10
Visuals: 9/10

Nice and short with characters that feel real


Movie Info

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girlfriends melanie mayron anita skinner

We don’t need men…we’re independent women! Right?

Susan Weinblatt (Melanie Mayron) is an aspiring photographer trying to make it in New York City.  When her best friend Anne Munroe (Anita Skinner) decides to marry Martin (Bob Balaban), Susan finds herself alone again.  With doubts in her skills and abilities and down on romance, Susan seeks out direction in different areas…only to question if she’s picked the right path for her life.

Written, directed, and produced by Claudia Weill, Girlfriends is a comedy-drama.  The film was financed through grants and was released to positive reviews.  The Criterion Collection released a remastered version of the movie (Criterion #1055) and the film was selected by the Library of Congress for preservation in that National Film Registry in 2019.

Girlfriends is one of those under-the-radar type films.  It wasn’t a big award winner, but it received praise from people like Stanley Kubrick.  The movie has an arc but it also feels more like a slice of life than a developed story.

girlfriends susan weinblatt eli wallach

Rabbi Gold…you’re trying to seduce me…aren’t you?

The movie ultimately feels like it is about loneliness vs. independence.  Susan is a modern woman.  She dates, but she hasn’t ever seemed to find anyone serious, and Susan believes in her work before relationship…but she’s also weary.  It would be easier for her to find a guy, marry, and do her work on the side, but as you see with both her friends Anne and Julie marriage also isn’t easy and having both a relationship and a career can be difficult or sometimes impossible.

Melanie Mayron is a good find as the lead because she feels very normal and real.  She has something about her that is likable, but you can also see how she could be a frustrating friend.  Anita Skinner plays her friend that “abandons her” for marriage, but she also realizes her life isn’t perfect.  Eli Wallach     plays an older rabbi that Susan considers having an affair with (who also seems sad and alone), and Christopher Guest is her “romantic lead” Eric with Bob Balaban playing the husband of Anne (both Guest and Balaban went on to work together a number of times in Guest’s films).

girlfriends melanie mayron christopher guest

Aren’t you supposed to be the funny one?

The movie has the nice “old New York City” look and feel that is gone now.  It is a world where a struggling artist could still live in the city.  The movie is also a very 1978 version of PG with some pretty nude scenes and a picture of some full frontal nudity…which reminds you how much ratings have change.

Girlfriends was a good find and worth seeking out for fans of films of the ’70s and great character driven films.  Girlfriends is one of those movies you can watch multiple times since it is a dissection of a person…who is difficult and fun at the same time.  Being single can be really hard for multiple reasons…and Girlfriends try to make sense of the struggle.

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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