is not a film about LGBT lifestyles per se,
even though one of the life partners of the title is an out-and-proud
lesbian woman and there is great love between the two female leads. No,
Life Partners takes the potentially even trickier – certainly more rare
– approach of making a film that takes a serious look at the joys and
hazards of female friendship.
It's actually kind of
funny with all the supposed "bromance" comedies out there like I Love You
Man and 21 Jump Street that very few people have really tried to
make an accurate chronicle of female best friends. Bridesmaids
certainly touched on this, but the central friendship mostly serviced larger
plot devices of the wedding, the romance and the gross-out humor.
However, Life Partners,
despite its LGBT-tweaking title, is actually the story about how two
life-long best friends deal with changes and strife in their lives and their
Paige (Gillian Jacobs of
Community) and Sasha (Leighton Meester of Gossip Girl) are
long-time best friends, both in their late 20s. Paige is a struggling
environmental lawyer, trying hard to work her way up the ranks. Sasha is a
musician officially, though she has long ago lost passion for her art,
settling into a low-level, low-tension gig as a secretary.
Sasha is the lesbian,
though her relationship with Paige is completely platonic (other than
Sasha's slight compulsion to show her friend her boobs.). Sasha knows and
respects that Paige is completely straight, and they have found a
comfortable and mutual intimacy as friends.
They have been together
through years of bad relationships, bad jobs, bad reality TV shows, bad food
and many drunken late night conversations. In lives full of
disappointments, they are the one constant in each other, the one thing the
other can unquestionably depend on.
However, their lives are
going in different directions. Sasha loses her dead-end job right as
Paige's career is really taking off. Then, when she least expects it, Tim,
the latest of Paige's dead-end dates (Adam Brody, star of The OC and
Meester's real-life husband) turns out to be Mr. Right.
Suddenly, the time Paige
used to spend with Sasha is going to Tim. And, like most
newly-happy-in-love friends, Paige keeps trying to fix Sasha up, trying to
find her the right woman. Sasha is not interested in finding a love match,
and as she is unemployed she is even more conscious of the absence of Paige
in her life.
She tries to make it up
by hanging out in bars with her lesbian friends, but the more she does that,
the more her life seems to be spinning out of control. Both Sasha and Paige
are upset about Sasha's wildness (though in different ways), and the strain
on their friendship starts to do damage to Paige's relationship.
It's an interesting
storyline, but nothing revolutionary. However, the terrific performances by
the three leads, the smart and funny dialogue and the canny direction make
Life Partners even more than the sum of its parts. It's a small,
sweet film that has real heart and pathos and a very pleasant surprise.
Jay S. Jacobs
Copyright ©2014 PopEntertainment.com.
All rights reserved. Posted: December 5, 2014.