Lilly and Gerri are best friends who will do anything and everything with each other. In an early scene, Gerri dares Lilly to take off her clothes and jump into the water at a crowded beach. She accepts and they share a laugh on the way back home. They’ll also tell each other everything, and when one is out of line, the other calls them out on it.
It’s their last summer before they head off to college and there’s nowhere they’d rather be than together and away from their homes, as Lilly knows her father (Clark Gregg, MARVEL’S AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D.) is cheating on her mother (Ellen Barkin, ANOTHER HAPPY DAY) and Gerri just doesn’t click with her mom (Demi Moore, LOL) and dad (Richard Dreyfuss, the 2012 A&E miniseries COMA). One night, the topic of sex comes up. All of their friends have had it, but—perhaps because they’re always together?—it has alluded both Lilly (Dakota Fanning, NIGHT MOVES) and Gerri (Elizabeth Olsen, GODZILLA). It suddenly rings as a shock when Lilly says out loud, “We’re going to college and we’re still virgins.” Gerri suggests they find some males.
Without the other knowing, their minds both go to David (Boyd Holbrook, A WALK AMONG THE TOMBSTONES), who works as an ice cream salesman on the boardwalk (and is quite good at making designs in the sand, which must be a plus). It’s immediately clear that this will be the first time Lilly and Gerri’s friendship is tested.
For the characters, it’s some coincidence that they both set their sights on the same guy and not, say, any other in-shape blonde (they could at least find one who isn’t so pretentious; in one scene, he invites Lilly inside and requests she read him Sylvia Plath). For the movie as a whole, it’s just one of the many forced plot elements. Another, for those keeping score, is Gerri’s father dying, which seems to happen only so she can get some action thrown her way.
VERY GOOD GIRLS is the directorial debut of Naomi Foner, who is better known as the screenwriter on films such as 2005’s BEE SEASON, 1995’s LOSING ISAIAH and 1988’s RUNNING ON EMPTY, which earned her an Oscar nomination. To her credit, Foner (who is also the mother of Jake and Maggie Gyllenhaal) has attracted quite a cast, which also includes her son-in-law, Peter Sarsgaard, and Keirnan Shipka, who plays Sally Draper on AMC’s MAD MEN). Unfortunately, Gregg, Barkin, Moore and Dreyfuss get very limited screen and so are misused, and the two female leads have to partake in such cliché-ridden scenarios and so are wasted. All of the actors are likeable and are above the material, but it’s fairly frustrating to watch Fanning and Olsen, who are both young and talented actresses, bother with such amateur material.
VERY GOOD GIRLS features music by Jenny Lewis (who, in a case of self-promotion, has Olsen sing one Rilo Kiley’s songs). It premiered at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival.
Video: 16×9 Widescreen in 1080p with MPEG-4 AVC codec. VERY GOOD GIRLS has a fairly standard transfer that offers fine details and colors but never pops.
Audio: English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio. The audio transfer features clear dialogue and a nice, clean soundtrack.
Interviews (54:25): Writer/director Naomi Foner, actress Dakota Fanning and actress Elizabeth Olsen sit down for individual interviews, while Fanning and Olsen join for another.