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Career girls - Mike Leigh, Katrin Cartlidge, Lynda Steadman, Kate Byers

Threat advisory: Severe - Severe risk of entertaining activities

Movie propaganda

All Hannah wanted was a room-mate... instead she got a best friend.

Whatever happened to that strange flatmate you lived with ten years ago? Mike Leigh asks this question in Career girls, the funny and poignant new comedy from the maker of Secrets and lies.

Filmed with Leigh's patented blend of verbal, visual and behavioural comedy, Career girls is set in London over a weekend and follows Hannah (Karin Cartlidge) and Annie (Lynda Steadman) as they catch up and reflect on the early days of their friendship. We see flashbacks of their lives in the mid-80s which is full of the usual mischief, jealousies and heartbreak that comes with youth. It is through these memories and a few chance encounters over the weekend with both old and new acquaintances that we come to see how they've changed, yet find that their close bond remains and even deepens.

Persons of interest

  • Katrin Cartlidge .... Hannah Mills
  • Lynda Steadman .... Annie
  • Kate Byers .... Claire
  • Mark Benton .... Ricky Burton
  • Andy Serkis .... Mr Evans
  • Joe Tucker .... Adrian Spinks
  • Margo Stanley .... Mrs Burton, Ricky's Nan
  • Michael Healy .... Lecturer
  • Mike Leigh .... Screenwriter
  • Mike Leigh .... Director

Intelligence analyst

Special Agent Matti

Theatrical report

I will start by saying that I am developing a love/hate relationship with Mike Leigh's films. I love them because they are dark, gritty, humanistic, funny and biting. I hate them because they are dark, gritty, humanistic, funny and biting.

Career girls is no exception to any of these things. In parts it is so funny that I made something of a spectacle of myself. In other parts it is so tragic that I just wanted it to end. In still other parts it is so thought provoking that I got paranoid. See? Love/hate. That's one of the good things about Mike's stuff - you always have to have an opinion; sitting on the fence is not an option.

To save on adjectives I will just list the things that are brilliant: the dialogue, the acting, the mood, the drama, the production values, the humour, the wit, the character interaction, the timing, the editing. I did see two continuity errors though (but then again Mr A Retentive would, wouldn't he?). This film is deserving of all those wanky things critics say so that they can be quoted in the advertising. Seriously. See it and learn how to give good film.

Security censorship classification

M (Adult themes, sexual references, medium level coarse language)

Surveillance time

87 minutes (1:27 hours)

Not for public release in Australia before date

Film: 4 September 1997
DVD retail: 5 May 2003

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