In Cory Finley’s Thoroughbreds , two teens—the popular, put-together Lily (Anya Taylor-Joy) and the distant, slightly disturbed Amanda (Olivia Cooke)—form an unlikely friendship that leads to them plotting an unthinkable act with the help of a local tough (Anton Yelchin). As they begin to warm to each other’s differences, Lily and Amanda find an unexpected, albeit sinister, connection. But they are more than just partners in crime. For The Playlist, the film paints “a portrait of female friendship that, despite the dark places it goes to, proves to be oddly touching.”
In anticipation of Thoroughbreds' release on March 9, we showcase some of our favorite films about complicated friendships. If conflict is the heart of drama, these films—from a passionate relationship that blurs every boundary to a history-making friendship between a Queen and her humble subject—are utterly engaging tales about our powerful need for connection.
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Emotions run hot in My Summer of Love.
In Pawel Pawlikowski’s My Summer of Love, Tamsin (Emily Blunt in her film debut) is an upper-class girl recently expelled from her posh boarding school. Mona (Natalie Press) is a working-class teen dealing with a violent brother (Paddy Considine) who has become a zealous born-again Christian. When the two meet by accident one hot summer afternoon in a small Yorkshire village, they discover a strange pull that they can neither escape, nor fully embrace. Pawlikowski spent eight months to find just the right chemistry for a relationship that for The New York Times “moves from the sisterly to the sexual and beyond, into the kind of feverish, all-consuming intimacy that makes everything else seem insubstantial.”
Frenemies join forces in For A Good Time, Call…
In Jamie Travis’ comedy For A Good Time, Call…, two frenemies from college—Lauren (Lauren Anne Miller) and Katie (Ari Graynor)—become reluctant roommates when neither can afford an apartment in New York City. While at first familiarity breeds contempt between the two, they soon find a mutual cause when they decide to run their own phone-sex operation. For Graynor, the story is a classic romance: “Two friends meet, they fall in love, they hate each other, and they get back together.” But what makes it so memorable is that “the two…have such sweet, fizzy chemistry together,” notes Slate.
Strangers find each other in Lost in Translation.
There is perhaps no more iconic complicated friendship that the pairing of Charlotte (Scarlett Johansson) and Bob (Bill Murray) in Sofia Coppola’s Lost in Translation. Stuck together at the Park Hyatt Tokyo—he’s there making a television commercial for Suntory Whisky, she’s accompanying her photographer husband—they bond exploring the foreign city together. Rushing between drunken karaoke and sushi bars and pachinko parlors, each finds an unexpected soulmate in the other. In this love story of friendship, as Salon notes, “Coppola and her actors redefine the meaning of the word 'lover'—a lover, we realize, is anyone who loves.”
Friendship knows no borders in Victoria & Abdul.
Stephen Frears’ Victoria & Abdul recovers the lost story of one of the most unusual friendships in history. During her Golden Jubilee, Queen Victoria (Judi Dench) is introduced in passing to a humble Indian clerk, Abdul Karim (Ali Fazal), who has sailed from Agra to present a special coin to the most powerful woman on the planet. Despite the royal court’s stern disapproval, the two recognize in each other a kindred spirit and develop over time a profound connection that would last until Victoria’s death. As The San Francisco Chronicle notes, the film champions “the strange and resilient capacity for human beings to forge friendships, even in the face of arbitrary but formidable obstacles such as race, culture and class.”