Support the Girls
Barack Obama listed Support the Girls as one of his favourite films of 2018. Certainly, there are parallels that can be drawn between presidency and managing a restaurant.
Lisa Conroy (Regina Hall) is the general manager of the Hooters-esque breastaurant Double Whammies. She is responsible for coordinating all aspects of the general day-to-day operations; leading with a vision despite resistance from the owner; managing a workforce of young adults who are prone to breaking the first rule (“No drama”), all whilst staying positive and taking care of herself in the midst of a crumbling marriage. As she says to her estranged husband Cameron at the nadir of a long day, “I can take f**king up all day, but I can’t take not trying.” These words would surely resonate with the former president.
We follow Lisa over a busy 24-hour period where she takes on new hires, deals with a major technical issue and organises a car wash to raise funds for an employee who’s escaped from an abusive partner. Lisa leads with indefatigability in the face of impertinent individuals trying to undermine her staff, and Hall’s performance is absolutely top-tier.
Directed by Andrew Bujalski from his own script, there’s no obvious reference point for the film – hardly any texts focus on these places and characters – and his writing rises above the potential misgivings of a male perspective. He draws sympathetic characters to sensitively study the semi-clad personalities. Lisa especially feels lived-in, with the filmmaker demonstrating a shrewd understanding of the purpose behind such institutions. New hire Jennelle (Dylan Gelula) exemplifies the outsider’s imagination, thinking she can get higher tips with sexual explicitness, telling the leering males that she’s saving for a boob job.
Support the Girls is funny but the director’s brand of comedy is fairly subtle and the drama isn’t derived from commonplace good versus bad storytelling. It plays like a mainstream film for an arthouse audience, but the pure joy of it all means these words should be a friendly disclaimer rather than a deterrent for those on the fence, because everybody should see Hall’s masterful performance.
Haley Lu Richardson is a total delight as the gleeful topdog Maci. Shayna McHayle, better known as rapper Junglepussy, is a revelation as serene single mother Danyelle. We want to see more movies with these actresses in great roles, so there’s only one directive for readers considering a cinema trip: support the girls.
Support the Girls is released in select cinemas on 28th June 2019.
Watch the trailer for Support the Girls here: