Project Valentine, Day 15: The Incredibly True Adventure of Two Girls in Love

2/15/2011

I had never heard of The Incredibly True Adventure of Two Girls in Love until my friend, teacher, and judo sparring partner Steve Moss recommended adding it to Project Valentine.  Thanks for the recommendation!

First impression - this movie was filled with faces that I almost, but not quite, recognized.  Nicole Ari Parker was probably the biggest name in it, and I really only knew her from Boogie Nights, which came out 14 years ago.  In fact, the most recognizable actress was Dale Dickey, who played Patty the Daytime Hooker on My Name is Earl.  Of course, many great movies have unknown casts, so I mention that separately of my other first impression, which is this - I almost, but not quite, enjoyed this movie.

The story centers around Randy Dean, a high school senior.  She is not a successful student, has only one real friend, and lives with her aunt and her aunt's girlfriend.  Randy works part time at a gas station where, from time to time, her married girlfriend visits her for trysts in the ladies room.  One day Evie, a popular girl at school, stops at the station believing that she has car trouble, and recognizes Randy from school.  The girls begin a friendship which eventually grows into a romance.  Their relationship is tested as problems mount around them:  Evie's friends reject her when she reveals her relationship, Randy's aunt is furious to discover how poorly she's doing in school, and Evie's mother puts pressure on her about everything.  The two girls run away together and, in a very ambiguous last scene, stand together face to face in a motel room doorway while their families and friends shout at them from outside.

I can't entirely peg why I didn't fully enjoy this movie, but I have an idea.  If we accept that no two relationships are exactly the same, we can at least also accept that many relationships have similar experiences.  Gay or straight, the experience of first teenage love is one that we all went through.  That's why, even though there's such a thing as suspension of disbelief when you're watching a movie, you still can't help but notice when a movie doesn't play something like this exactly right.  It's a shared experience that everybody has had in one form or another, and people will notice if the details are off.  Although I thought that Two Girls in Love did get some of the experience of first love right (the electricity of taking somebody's hand for the first time, the nervousness and trepidation when you are getting to know each other), there were too many details that just didn't fit for me.

Things I did like - Nicole Ari Parker is gorgeous, and I can easily see why anybody would fall in love with her.  Frank, Randy's gay best friend, was a small role but had one of the funniest lines in the movie.  A copy of Walt Whitman's "Leaves of Grass" is shared by the girls in the movie, and is one of the things they build their relationship around, and in that final scene where they are standing and facing each other, they both quote from "Song of Myself" to each other, and it's a really pretty and nicely done moment.

This movie reminded me in many ways of another early '90s teen romance, the Australian film FlirtingFlirting revolves around a hetero couple, but still tells the story of a teen romance dealing with issues of race, differing social class, and acceptance, while throwing in some pretty funny scenes.  It's also got Nicole Kidman in a very early role.

RATING - This movie's heart was in the right place, and was sweet, but it just didn't grab me.  I give it two copies of "Leaves of Grass" out of five.
SIDENOTE - As much as I do enjoy Walt Whitman, I am unable to hear the title of "Leaves of Grass" without thinking of Homer Simpson shouting, "Damn you, Walt Whitman! I-hate-you-Walt-freaking-Whitman! 'Leaves of Grass', my ass!" while kicking Whitman's tombstone.

LESSON - I'm having a hard time finding the lesson in this movie.  Follow your heart?  The heart wants what it wants?  I dunno...

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

This has long been a favorite. It feels fresh and real in a lot of ways, which is strange to say, since I agree that it doesn't quite feel real in a number of ways. I'm partly reacting to the production itself - I was astonished to realize the two central performers went on to very nice careers, since they feel completely guileless in their performances, but also many of the details feel very right, like the households of the two girls.

Anyway, there's a real, earnest non-Hollywood sweetness about this that is the reason it keeps getting mentioned and passed around. A thousand fake lesbian screen kisses can't compete with it.

-Eric

Anonymous said...

Glad you chose this one. And mildly surprised. I don't know that I would be as impressed with it now as I was in 1995. For it's what and when I still think highly of it. SM

Danny said...

Eric - Very true. I consciously tried to avoid mentioning the love scene in my review, because I didn't want to come across as a drooling lout ("Huh huh... nekkid girls is kissin!"), but there really was a sweetness, softness, and sense of fun to it that I haven't seen in other movies.

Steve - When I asked for recommendations of movies, I already had a few ideas for theme blocks in mind, and when I saw you mention this one, it fit well with this block. I appreciate your input!

metallikyle said...

Wait, Danny you're into judo? That's awesome.

Danny said...

That part was a joke. And Steve lives about 6 hours away, so we wouldn't get to spar very often anyway. I invite you to continue thinking that I'm awesome, though.

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