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artisanal film reviews | by maryann johanson

Very Good Girls movie review: sex negative

Very Good Girls red light

An almost complete waste of a talented cast, and all to, apparently, convince teenaged girls that sex isn’t worth the hassle. Say what?
I’m “biast” (pro): love Elizabeth Olsen and Dakota Fanning; we need to see this premise more

I’m “biast” (con): nothing

(what is this about? see my critic’s minifesto)

Very boring girls, more like. I really wanted to like this tale of two best friends, Lilly (Dakota Fanning: Night Moves) and Gerri (Elizabeth Olsen: Godzilla), in New York City about to go off to different colleges and fretting about the fact that they’re both still virgins. I mean, that’s not really a big deal, even if they’ve convinced themselves that they’re the last sexless dorks on the planet, but okay: guy characters get these sorts of movies all the time. And this is as tedious as most of the guy versions. In spite of the appealing talents that Fanning and Olsen are, Lilly and Gerri are bland and one-dimensional, and that one dimension takes the shape of the even blander David (Boyd Holbrook: The Host): they’re both into him, they never stop talking about him (they talk about almost nothing else), and there’s no reason at all that we can see for their interest… and no, the fact that he has Sylvia Plath books around his place isn’t enough. (In fact, it’s kind of a laughable way to establish that he’s “deep,” or whatever he’s supposed to be.) There’s so much overwrought drama accompanying Lilly’s and Gerri’s attempts to get him into their pants that writer-director Naomi Foner almost seems to be saying that getting their sexy on isn’t worth the threat to their friendship: why else structure a story like this, or throw in some of the plot twists we must face? A deeper shame is the almost complete waste of Ellen Barkin (Brooklyn’s Finest) and Clark Gregg (Labor Day) as Lilly’s parents, and Demi Moore (Margin Call) and Richard Dreyfuss (Paranoia) as Gerri’s. Oh, and of Peter Sarsgaard (Night Moves) as the way-too-old-for-her coworker creeping on Lilly. If this flick was intended to scare teenaged girls into staying virgins into their 30s, success!


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Very Good Girls (2014)
US/Can release: Jul 25 2014 (VOD Jun 24 2014)
UK/Ire release: direct to DVD

MPAA: rated R for language and sexual content
BBFC: rated 15 (strong language, moderate sex)

viewed on my iPad

official site | IMDb
more reviews: Movie Review Query Engine | Rotten Tomatoes

If you’re tempted to post a comment that resembles anything on the film review comment bingo card, you might want to reconsider.

  • jervaise brooke hamster

    I want to bugger Miley Cyrus.

  • RogerBW

    A guy in his thirties, hanging around with teenage girls, with poetry of just the sort that might be expected to appeal to the “soulful” ones… yeah, I know, the character’s probably not meant to be in his thirties any more than the girls are meant to be 20 and 25, but even so it seems a little off.

  • Beowulf

    All right. I know Stockard Channing was like 30 or 31 when she made GREASE, but isn’t Ms. Olson like 25 or 26? She played a mom in GODZILLA, for Pete’s sake! Virginity is like the foil on a bottle of wine, as soon as you get rid of it, you can enjoy the good stuff!

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