Movie Review: ‘Girls Trip’ Was Food For The Soul
By:     -   July 25, 2017   -   Entertainment  -  Film  -  Unapologetically Us Blog   -   Comments are closed   -   752 Views

 

Editor’s Note: The Girls Trip movie gave me the ultimate feels. I wanted to see it opening weekend, for a myriad of reasons, so I purchased a ticket to the early show the night before its official release. I was too excited…The anticipation and buzz surrounding this important film was so amplified because Black women will show up and out in record numbers every time to support our own. Although I went alone, I ended up bonding with the woman next to me over laughs. There is nothing that compares to the overwhelming love and support of Black women. And I left with my heart feeling so full…this is a box office SMASH!


**SPOILERS**SPOILERS**SPOILERS**SPOILERS**SPOILERS**


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Friendships are complicated, and only time will tell if many will truly stand the test of time. This film is centered around Black girl friendships. The situations that the beautiful cast of characters encountered individually was real life “stuff” that any woman from every walk of life can relate to on some level. Friendships can be a funny thing – no matter how much time has gone by, many pick right back up where they left off. Some, not so much. Life and it’s seemingly never-ending curveballs are inevitable, but this plot teaches us that we are stronger and more unstoppable together.

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Old college friends (Ryan, Sasha, Lisa and Dina), AKA “The Flossy Posse” are taking a break from their very busy worlds to spend the weekend at the annual Essence Festival in New Orleans. Essence Festival is a real live music festival – the largest in the nation, drawing Black women nationwide into the fold for food, entertainment, fond memories and valuable life lessons. The crew had not connected in a while due to life (which was a relatable element), coupled with a bit of growing apart. Regardless, they each dropped everything and made the effort to re-establish a connection like old times.

RYAN (Regina Hall)

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From the outside looking in, Ryan is the woman who has it all – the picture perfect marriage and a successful career. In fact, she and her husband, Stew Pierce, were bestselling authors of a book titled, “You Can Have It all”. Networks from all over were seeking their advice on love and careers, and their agent Elizabeth was working around the clock to secure them all financially and capitalize on their momentum. It is no wonder the audience that they’ve built on the premise of “having it all” resulted in their relationship being put on a pedestal.

When Ryan gets invited to the Essence Festival to deliver the keynote address, she figured that it would be the perfect opportunity to get her girls back together for a fun weekend…mixing business with pleasure. Also, on the table is a mega contract from a heavy hitter investor, Bethany, for a relationship talk show. Ryan was on the hook to seal the deal through her keynote.

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Ryan’s world soon came crashing down when her friend Sasha, a gossip blogger, received a tip from a paparazzi photographer, not long after the crew touching down in New Orleans, showing her husband kissing another woman. Ryan’s character is complicated – she appears unbothered on the outside, much like a duck being attacked underwater with no signs of trauma, while suffering wholeheartedly on the inside. It turns out that she and her husband had been living a lie, and things were not as perfect as they appeared. To protect their branding image, they had previously come to an agreement to remain together as a “partnership” in a loveless marriage behind closed doors. When the photograph leaked, we learn that this was not the couple’s first rodeo with infidelity, but now Ryan’s friends know. And pretty soon, Sasha warns that the information will likely leak to the tabloids. Ryan seemed more furious that the news of the infidelity got out than the entire big picture of the facade she had been putting on, which raised eyebrows. We knew that underneath that tough exterior and girl boss mentality, Ryan was hurting on the inside. She often chanted to herself in the midst of her insecurities, “You are strong! You are powerful! You are beautiful!”

Yes, Ryan was all of those things….even to a husband that took her for granted. She was courageous in speaking up for others and giving them sound advice (i.e., her Caucasian publicist who wanted to use alllll the slang), but she had a difficult time finding the voice to stand up for herself.

SASHA (Queen Latifah)

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Sasha is a writer who once had huge dreams of starting a news publication with Ryan, who had also been a journalism major. Back in the day, the two were set to take media by storm. But instead (and quite naturally as life happened), Ryan decided to do business with her husband. Ryan and Sasha’s relationship was visibly strained from the “falling out”, which was the huge elephant accompanying the girls on this trip. It was interesting to see them massage out their underlying issues, although not always pretty. Over the years, Sasha settled on becoming a popular, yet struggling gossip blogger who was always waiting to break the next big story to make her (overdue) rent. Sasha is also having an internal moral battle, and we get the feeling that she is no longer in love with her site rooted in the misfortune of others. But for the time being, it was paying her bills…barely.

The true character of Sasha shows in how hard she goes for Ryan.

The true character of a person is in what they do when no one is looking.

In reality to a gossip blogger, Sasha is sitting on a gold mine of having a public figure as a best friend (along with her ex-NFLer husband). However, she remains strategic (in helping Ryan work through the worst-case scenarios should the photograph be leaked), was an emotional sounding board and loyal friend to the end. We also see more into the strained part of their friendship where Ryan does not fully trust Sasha – accusing her of intentionally leaking stories to the public for financial gain. Although Sasha had a huge eviction notice plastered on her apartment door, and surely could have received a huge payday, she was simply not that type of friend. And she proved it through her actions.

LISA (Jada Pinkett-Smith)

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Lisa is the “suzie homemaker” of the group, but she had not always been so…conservative. Having gone through a divorce and navigating parenting with her 2 children, she became a shell of herself and rarely got out for fun. Before leaving for the Essence Festival, Dina says to her as she tightly clutches her children, “We are only going to be gone for 3 days; you are not going off to war!” Lisa is also the perceived peacemaker between the women, and is often shown trying to deescalate their public blowups. She is almost like a pocket publicist – until she has finally had enough and has a meltdown of her own. And get this – she handmade each of the girls sparkly jean glitter vests with a whole boatload of patches – super cute, right?

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Although it was funny and tacky to some, it also spoke to her thoughtfulness and admiration for these women. Once Lisa is around her girls and truly let’s her hair down, we see a fun, carefree, loyal, and unapologetic Black women beneath her floor-length floral skirts. Oh, and did we mention Lisa’s new love interest….oooooh weee (heyyyy Kofi)!

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I would say that she had a pretty interesting time knocking the cobwebs off…! Cheers to THAT!

DINA (Tiffany Haddish)

Dina! Dina! Dina! Dina is a trip, y’all. What you see is what you get! She is effortlessly hysterical and will ride or die for those she loves. Seriously, don’t tell Dina any news if you don’t want her to fly off the handle IMMEDIATELY. She gets to the root of things on the spot and does things her way (and usually thinks of the consequences later). Tiffany Haddish took this role and sculpted it masterfully in a comedy we will never forget. We may never look at grapefruits and bananas the same *sips tea*. The most amazing thing about Dina’s role is that her friends received her with open arms, even through all of the near-jail-bailouts they could have likely had over the weekend due to her.

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At the end of the film, Dina opened up by telling Lisa (after they had a huge spat) that she has always felt like the black sheep of the crew; that her friends only tolerated her for sh*ts and giggles. And this could be farther from the truth. They loved every part of her. WE loved every part of her….every girl needs a Dina in their crew.


THE LESSON

Now that we know the ladies a little better, there was more to the story behind the leaked paparazzi photograph with the mystery Instagram woman – Simone. Turns out, she had the nerve to show up to the Essence Festival to try to take Ryan off her A-game every chance she got. But she was no match for The Flossy Posse who gathered her (and her little friends) all the way up and snatched their edges to infinity and beyond. That club scene was classic!

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It was also funny how the men of the film took a backseat and let the ladies cut up. This circle was legit. They had each other’s backs. They had Ryan’s back. Besides, Ryan was the one who had brought them all back together.

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Sometimes, the strong one needs people to be strong for them.

When Ryan brushed off the cheating allegations and chalked it up to the “partnership”, her friends questioned her logic and called her out on it, saying things that she may have not been quite ready to hear. When Ryan’s husband got out of pocket, the crew got out of pocket too. When the media leaked the story of not only the infidelity shadowing the power couple, but the bombshell of  the side-piece’s pregnancy, they pieced her back together.

In "Girls Trip," when four lifelong friends—(L to R) Ryan (REGINA HALL), Lisa (JADA PINKETT SMITH), Sasha (QUEEN LATIFAH) and Dina (TIFFANY HADDISH)—travel to New Orleans for the annual "Essence" Festival, sisterhoods are rekindled, wild sides are rediscovered, and there’s enough dancing, drinking, brawling and romancing to make the Big Easy blush.

(L to R) Ryan (REGINA HALL), Lisa (JADA PINKETT SMITH), Sasha (QUEEN LATIFAH) and Dina (TIFFANY HADDISH)

To add insult to injury, there was a scene where Ryan’s husband, after she received the devastating news of his affair baby having struggled with years of infertility, basically told her that there was no way that she could close out the high-dollar deal from the investor without him.

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“You can’t be what you can’t see.” – Marian Wright Edelman

In her keynote, the couple’s publicist wrote up the perfect vanilla speech for Ryan to read to the large crowd of women, denouncing the allegations of infidelity with baby and all. For a moment, Ryan continued to play the role of “patty perfect”, but caught a glimpse of her friends in the crowd. She went off script, and that is the best thing she could have ever done. She spoke her truth, and it opened many doors for her…outside of her (soon-to-be-ex husband). The most rewarding moment of all is when she chose Sasha as a business partner in the new deal she secured on her own merit. It all came full circle.

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Girls Trip will make you miss the homies you fell out of touch with. It will show you that women can have healthy, genuine relationships. These women taught us that we can be ourselves and “have it all” on our own terms and as long as it’s not hurting, demeaning or hindering us (whatever “having it all” looks like for you). Perhaps the most important lesson is that as we show up for ourselves, we all should show up for one another. Take the time to check in with those who have always been a rock for others (i.e., the strong friend).

We are better together, and if you’re going through life without good friends, you are missing out!


Kudos to the people who made it happen:

Director: Malcolm D. Lee

Writers: Erica Rivinoja, Kenya Barris, Tracy Oliver

Main Cast: Regina Hall (Ryan Pierce), Queen Latifah (Sasha Franklin), Jada Pinkett-Smith (Lisa Cooper), Tiffany Haddish (Dina), Larenz Tate (Julian Stevens), Mike Colter (Stewart Pierce), Kate Walsh (Elizabeth Davelli), Kofi Siriboe (Malik), Lara Grice (Bethany), Deborah Avorinde (Simone)

 

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