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‘Girls Trip’ Explores the Magic of Friendship

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The only way to really enjoy a movie about the reunion of female friends is to enjoy it with your own longtime friends. Such was the case before opening night in Atlanta, Georgia, for the movie “Girls Trip.”

Girls Trip PosterBy 6:45 p.m., a packed theater full of — you guessed it — women were grouped in designated lines awaiting the next showing of “Girls Trip” at 9 p.m. Every screen at Satellite Cinemas was premiering the film, which began its first showing at 7 p.m. For the few men who were present, mainly event organizers from FCE Entertainment, they seemed unfazed by the excitement and more focused on the orderly process of the evening.

Almost as interesting as what everyone was waiting to see, were the ushers comments who had to organize the throngs of women. One announced, “No children are allowed at all,” while another warned that only those “in this line” with radio station (Magic 107.5/97.5) passes would be allowed in the next showing.  Still, none of the crowding, forewarning or waiting curtailed the moviegoers’ anticipation. In fact, one could say the atmosphere only intensified it.

From the moment the movie started until the credits rolled, the film evoked some type of human emotion. Four best friends reunite on a trip to New Orleans for the annual Essence Festival. The reunion becomes an urban adventure as they rediscover lingering irritations and uncover new secrets, all while discovering their wild side. For their friend Dina (Tiffany Haddish), wild is a way of life. In fact, she inspires most of the laughs, as well as the jaw-dropping drama.

Directed by Malcolm D. Lee,  he said, “I learned a lot every day working with these women.” What can the audience learn? The main theme is that true friends love and support each unconditionally, and they can overcome any challenge together.

Each character needs the re-emergence of an old friend to balance her life. Prior to the trip, each woman had a rather lopsided existence, either focusing too much on children, husband, career or fun.  Once they embark on the reunion weekend, the “Flossy Posse,” as they call themselves, begin to expose and then explore their unhealthy dependencies. Some, like Lisa Cooper (Jada Pinkett Smith), are reminded to lighten up, and the main character Ryan Pierce (Regina Hall) comes to understand that truth makes her stronger, not weaker. Meanwhile, Sasha Franklin (Queen Latifah) is forced to confront her arrested integrity when her latest scoop could destroy her friend’s career.

All of these transformative lessons emerge while they drink, smoke, dance, brawl, drunk-text, and even pray. To some degree, it all seems believable because the onscreen chemistry among the women appears natural and reminiscent of other popular women’s films. During a scene at a bar, Dina takes the opportunity to remind the audience of one such film in which Smith and Latifah co-starred, “Set It Off.” When Dina mentions they should  “set it off,” Lisa and Sasha briefly pause to take on the demeanor of their more sinister characters (bank robbers) from that film.

 

 

Crass to some but comical to others, the film has moments for everyone who has ever experienced some level of enjoyment with their female friends. Whether you can relate to sharing clothes or advice, aspects of the Flossy Posse’s friendship are certainly relatable. This made leaving the theater as electrifying as entering it. Women recalled their favorite lines and tried to determine which “Girls Trip” character within their own friend circle they were most like. One woman declared, “I’m Dina.”

Ryan narrates the last lines of the movie, describing true friendship as “magical,” and most women who have at least one good friend would agree with that summation. This is what makes the film special: its ability to depict the magic of bonds.

The film is set for release Friday, July 21.

 

-Annette Johnson, Editor

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