Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants
man, I have to admit that I have a natural distrust of films with the word
"sisterhood" in the title. Okay, the only
other one I can remember seeing was The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya
Sisterhood, but two hours of watching women dance around fires and
complain about men was more than enough to make me want to go cold turkey on
So it is with a certain degree of pleasant surprise that I can report what a
very good movie Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants turned out to be.
It certainly aimed at girls, but men can enjoy the film just as much because
it tells interesting stories and deals with important issues in life without
getting overly preachy or treacly.
upon a popular series of books by Ann Brashares, the movie tells a series of
four stories about best friends who are spending their first summer apart.
In the days leading up to their goodbyes, they find a pair of pants in a
vintage clothing shop that magically fits all four very different (and
radically differently shaped) girls.
They make a pact to share the pants, sending it back and forth between them
so that they can share adventures in the same pants. Then they must
write to convey the story of what happened to them in the pants to the next to wear them.
Bledel (Gilmore Girls) is Lena, the shy, smart one. She is
flying to Greece to stay with her grandparents in their impossibly
picturesque fishing village. While she is wearing the pants, she is
rescued from drowning by a gorgeous local fisherman (Michael Rady.) As
she is growing to love the Mediterranean life and her cute guy, she finds
out that her family has a feud with his.
(America Ferrara from Real Women Have Curves) is a chubby Latina
going to visit
her father (Bradley Whitford of The West Wing) in South Carolina,
whom she almost never gets to see since her parents' divorce. When she
gets there, she
is shocked to find out that he is about to get married to a WASP (Nancy
Travis) and adapt her white-bread kids.
is the beautiful, fearless, outgoing one. Blake Lively does fine work in her movie debut, unless you count her role
as the Tooth Fairy in Sandman when she was ten. However,
Bridget's constant attempts at acting happy can't hide the sorrow she feels
over her mother's suicide and her distant relationship with her father.
She goes to an all-girl soccer camp in Mexico and quickly sets about
capturing her coach's eye.
Tamblyn (Joan of Arcadia) is Tibby, the rebel of the group. She
wears her clothes black and her hair blue and is sulking because she is the
only one left behind. She is an aspiring documentarian who gets a job
in a soulless superstore called Wallman's (wonder where that's supposed to
be) so that she can film her co-workers' quiet lives of desperation.
It is only when she befriends a little girl (Jenna Boyd) that she sees that
she may be judgmental of people because she doesn't understand their lives.
episodic structure of the film keeps it fresh -- none of the stories is
stretched out so that they wear out their welcome. The stories
may seem a bit familiar, but the filmmakers keep them fresh, driving them in
unexpected directions and exploring real emotions. For example, when
Carmen starts obsessing that her father prefers his new family to her, it is
an intriguing concept that we find out that perhaps she is not totally
wrong. The two come to a tentative understanding, but you never know
how long that will last.
stories are not always happy, and they aren't always sad. The girls
don't always do the right things -- in fact mostly they don't. It sometimes seems that all they have that they can depend upon are
themselves and each other. For in the end, their stories may be a
little worn and frayed, but they are able to make them fit and be
comfortable for all four friends. Just like the pants.