MJ Delaney’s directorial debut, Powder Room, is a short, sharp, and seriously witty British comedy about women, for women (but that shouldn’t stop men enjoying it too). Set in the women’s toilet in a glossy yet gritty club and boasting an all-female cast, the film follows Sam (a brilliant Sheridan Smith), as she reunites with her old pal Michelle, played surprisingly well by singer Kate Nash. Michelle has been living in Paris, has a beautiful friend called Jess (Oona Chaplin), is engaged to her dream guy (with a rock as big as her head to prove it), and has a highflying career in fashion. After fabricating her own successes, Sam’s plan goes horribly wrong when her three loud, loutish and laddish best friends, led by Chanel (played hilariously by Jaime Winstone), bulldoze into the club.
Based on When Women Wee, a play by Rachel Hirons, the film takes on an overt sense of theatricality, which takes away some of its credibility: the toilet becomes stage-like, there is a tendency to overact, some of the jokes become crass clichés, and there are times you are left cringing. However, once you get past this and deeper into the polarity between ladette culture (the “selfie”-taking, cider-drinking, cigarette-smoking, potty-mouthed women) and what society considers to be a lady, the film becomes highly entertaining. But it’s not just the difference between these extremes of women that makes it, but rather its depiction of what it is to be a woman in general that makes Powder Room so relevant. These women are having fun together, they’re amusing, they have careers and, most importantly, they support each other, without having to rely on men. It’s a very empowering message – and the fact that the film has an all-female cast, reflecting the rise and importance of women in cinema, makes it all the more poignant.
Filled with laugh-out-loud gags, visually exciting vignettes and a danceable soundtrack curated by all-female rock band Fake Club (where band members actually play instruments as opposed to just singing and looking “sexy”), Powder Room is a particularly enjoyable commentary on what it’s like to be a woman.
The editorial unit
Powder Room is released nationwide on 6th December 2013.
Watch the trailer for Powder Room here: