Truly wonderful in every way
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Starring: Hồng Ánh, Hoàng Yến Chibi, Hoàng Oanh
Director: Nguyen Quang Dung
Running Time: 118 mins
Go-Go Sisters (Tráng Năm Rự́c Rõ) is a Vietnamese film about a woman who, upon learning of her childhood best friend’s terminal illness, decides to reunite all of The Wild Horses, her gang of lively friends from back in high school, the best years of their lives.
This film is one of the biggest surprises I’ve ever had. The childhood nostalgia premise is very often one that can make for a both powerful and delightful watch, but surely no film does it quite like Go-Go Sisters. A truly wonderful piece of cinema that’s teeming with life and joy, complete with vibrant visuals, a fun atmosphere, brilliant performances across the board, and a very genuine, mature and moving story, this film will make you laugh, smile and even cry, making Go-Go Sisters one of the greatest hidden gems of all.
There’s so much that I loved about Go-Go Sisters, but we’ll start off with the fact that it’s just so delightful. Not only does the film feature all of the joyous innocence of childhood, as we follow the memories of the girls’ times together at school, but also a combination of very genuine and mature drama that, in tandem with the film’s beautiful nostalgia, makes for a truly moving watch.
What really impressed me about this film was how well it manages to balance the two main sides of the story, the childhood memories, and seeing all the girls getting back together in present day. Often, a film that focuses so much on nostalgia can make for a powerful and wonderful look back into the past, only at the expense of the story set in the present day. Go-Go Sisters, on the other hand, ties its two central plots together perfectly, by demonstrating all sorts of parallels between the past and the present for the same characters, as well as firmly linking the women’s lively personalities to how they were formed a few decades before – something that makes both time periods thoroughly engrossing to follow.
In that, the film is dramatically riveting in every way, but along with that, it’s the film’s relentless sense of joy that really makes it stand out. From beginning to end, it’s a properly hilarious movie, with a collection of zany characters all bursting with energy at every moment, and the brilliant dynamic between them all throughout makes for some fantastically funny comedy.
What’s more is the wonderfully bright and vibrant atmosphere of the film as a whole. While Go-Go Sisters has genuine, powerful drama, it’s still a truly delightful and pleasant watch from beginning to end, with its happy energy always outshining any downs in the story. It’s full of bright colours everywhere you look, complete with a whole range of truly wonderful performances, and even isn’t afraid to break out into a nice little sing-song from time to time, but all of that comes together to make a film that will really make your heart sing.
Let’s talk about those performances a bit more. The film centres on a group of six friends, both in the past as high schoolers and the present day as adults, but what that means is that you have a main cast of over 10 actresses to portray the characters in both time periods. Looking at the present day, Hong Anh proves a strong and calming central presence, playing the woman who brings The Wild Horses back together, all the while bringing her character’s deep nostalgia and love for those days to the forefront, something that is undoubtedly vital in grabbing you on an emotional level as well.
Playing the same character but back in the day, Hoang Yen Chibi also really impresses, going beyond what initially looks like a typical shy new girl character performance to really stand out as a very funny and fully engrossing personality throughout. Also, Hoang Oanh is fantastic as the group’s leader, putting in what is easily the film’s most charismatic performance, and proving the strong leader that you’re meant to look up to along with Hoang Yen Chibi’s young character.
All in all, I thought Go-Go Sisters was an absolutely amazing film. Save for a few brief moments of tonal inconsistency, it’s a pretty much perfect film, complete with stunning performances, powerful drama, delightful nostalgia, hilarious comedy, great characters, and a bright and energetic atmosphere from beginning to end, all of which makes for one of the most wonderful cinematic surprises you’ll ever have, and that’s why I’m giving it an 8.8.