Starring: Regina Hall, Haley Lu Richardson, Shayna McHayle
Director: Andrew Bujalski
Running Time: 93 mins
Support The Girls is an American film about the general manager of a small sports bar who meets numerous hardships over the course of a long shift, testing her optimistic and caring attitude that makes the establishment a great place to work.
This is a really touching film. With a down-to-earth story that touches on the trials of everyday life, the film shines with brilliant humour, smart writing, tender emotion, and wonderful characters, furthered by a stunning lead performance from Regina Hall, and excellent supporting turns to boot, all of which makes Support The Girls a delightful, engrossing and thoroughly entertaining watch from beginning to end.
There’s so much to love about this film, but the one thing that really stands out about it is the performance from Regina Hall. In tandem with a measured and confident screenplay that gives her a strong and layered character, Hall is absolutely wonderful to watch at every moment, playing the professional and principled general manager of a small sports bar, all the while showing her caring side as she looks after the waitresses who work there, as well as those around her outside of the bar.
The film’s down-to-earth premise makes it an undeniably relatable, but it’s Regina Hall’s performance that makes Support The Girls such a likable watch, as she tackles a whole host of obstacles and difficulties head on with a positive and active attitude, but without ever overstepping the mark to becoming a cheesily happy character, something that’s brilliantly replicated in the screenplay and directing throughout, giving the film a truly genuine atmosphere that gels well with its optimistic outlook.
Alongside Hall, there are a number of other strong performances across the board, but the two other stand-out turns come from Haley Lu Richardson and Shayna McHayle, both of whom give equally likable performances, with Richardson the smiley and kind-hearted waitress, and McHayle a more grounded yet still strong-willed and pleasant colleague. Hall’s performance is the driving force of the film throughout, but these two supporting turns help to make it stronger all round, balancing out elements of the main character’s arc with more optimistic humour and touching drama.
That’s something else that the film does really well, bring upbeat and genuinely funny humour together with a story that’s very down-to-earth and equally dramatically serious. With a similar indie vibe to the likes of The Florida Project, Support The Girls does what very few films can, and turns an indie drama into a energetic and thoroughly enjoyable watch, something that never proves a chore despite its patient pacing, and also keeps surprising and developing throughout with a smart story that balances personal drama perfectly with comments on wider topics.
Director Andrew Bujalski deserves huge credit for the film’s wonderfully heartwarming atmosphere, because he hits the balance between humour and genuine drama spot on from beginning to end. In that, this is an enjoyable and often very funny watch, but it’s not a film that’s afraid to go deeper into serious issues, and with an emotionally tender and intimate look at the personal struggles of its main characters, as well as a wider perspective on how they fit into a number of social issues, Support The Girls is a perfectly balanced film from beginning to end, and one that outdoes so many other independent pieces that try to do the same.
Overall, I adored Support The Girls. A heartwarming and hugely likable film at every moment, it combines great humour with sharp wit and thoroughly enjoyable performances across the board, however it uses all of that and more to go deeper into its characters’ lives, with an intriguing and touching dramatic story throughout that features an outstanding lead turn from Regina Hall. Bringing all of that together into a succinct, energetic, engrossing and entertaining 90 minutes is no mean feat, and because it hits a difficult balance so perfectly throughout, I’m giving Support The Girls an 8.4.