Sunday, October 9, 2022

Support the Girls

Movie Name:
Support the Girls
Year of Release: 2018
Director: Andrew Bujalski
Starring: Regina Hall, Haley Lu Richardson, Dylan Gelula, Zoe Graham, Ann LeuVoy, Elizabeth Trieu, Krista Hayes, Victor Isaac Perez, Jesse Marshall, Luis Olmeda, Shayna McHayle, John Elvis, Lea DeLaria, James Le Gros, Lawrence Varnado, Bill Wise, Brooklyn Decker, AJ Michalka, Chris Brown
Genre: Comey, Drama
Score out of ten (whole numbers only): 7
Watch it on Amazon Prime

Synopsis and Review
Director Andrew Bujalski who made a critical splash with the features "Computer Chess" and "Results" previously, reached a much wider audience and accolades with "Support the Girls", which premiered in 2018 to critical acclaim. 
The film focuses its narrative on Lisa, a general manager for a sports bar where their waitresses wear very skimpy outfits. Lisa is a hard working, no-nonsense type of person and protects her employees fiercely, though she clashes with her absent and at times oblivious boss. During this particular day, their relationship comes to a boiling point when Lisa asks for her team to host an impromptu car wash to raise money for one of the employees, who has been the target of an abusive boyfriend and is currently staying with Lisa, and Ben the owner finds out and wants to take the money himself. On top of this, Lisa has had to deal with the cable not working, and an attempted robbery which has resulted in a man becoming stuck in a ventilation duct. In her personal life, she is also dealing with a crumbling marriage. All these challenges are heightened by the realization that a competing new restaurant is also opening in the area threatening the viability of their working place. 
There's a quietly unassuming quality to "Support the Girls", which makes the journey of its central character all the more endearing and real. Lisa is the core of the narrative and she's the one who sustains the energy of the restaurant, but also supports the life of everyone she seems to come in contact with, including that of her team mates who rely on her wisdom and heart to get through life. Regina Hall who is a charismatic and versatile performer, and who has made a career for herself in countless comedies, manages to ground this character with just enough strength, resilience, tiredness and shock, making Lisa a profoundly humane and realistic character, one who goes beyond the stereotypical and two dimensional aspect. The director also smartly builds the narrative during a limited timeline, giving the characters just enough bandwidth to showcase who they are, what their challenges and how Lisa is supporting them in their journey. It's an interesting feature, since it doesn't fall trap to the poverty porn that some features typically lean on, particularly the ones that touch upon this type of subject, and it also does not sensationalize what the characters do in the restaurant (and with its patrons). It's a restrained film, one that closely aligns with its central character, showcasing just enough grit, mixing it with some humor, tenderness and sadness. While the supporting characters sadly are not that expanded upon, this is a film that quietly captures one's attention. Haley Lu Richardson, James Le Gros, Lawrence Varnado provide good support to Regina Hall's wonderful central performance. The cinematography from Matthias Grunsky is solid as is the production design from Jake Kuykendall. Worth watching.