Career Girls opens with a train journey towards London’s Kings Cross where Annie, one of the major characters, is about to meet her old university friend Hannah. She recalls moving into a grotty student flat with Hannah in the mid-eighties. In those days Annie was self conscious and jumpy. The pair have not seen one another since graduation six years earlier. They both now have moderately successful careers and are, at least on the surface, self assured in their new lives. However, they are still carrying a lot of emotional baggage from their university days. During the course of a weekend they rediscover their close friendship and encounter many faces from the past. —IMDb
One of contemporary Britain’s most renowned directors, Mike Leigh is known for his depictions of the dramas inherent in the everyday lives of regular people. Often compared to compatriot Ken Loach for his emphasis on “slice-of-life” realism (a comparison Leigh has deemed inaccurate, as his films, unlike Loach’s, have no absolute political agenda), Leigh makes films remarkable for their level-headed, unsensational portrayals of topics that would become four-hankie “message” melodramas in the hands of most Hollywood directors.
Born February 20, 1943, in Salford, Manchester, Leigh originally wanted to go into acting. While training at London’s Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, however, he found himself drawn toward directing and writing, and he eventually transferred to the London Film School. He began his career on the stage, with two of his most important works, The Box Play and Bleak Moments, brought to life through collaborative experimentation during rehearsals. The latter play… read more
For me the characters with all their emotional baggage really came over strongly and the use of flashbacks to their student days emphasised how far those two friends came in the six years since they last saw each other. Especially the coincidences of meeting other students from their student days just made this film so special for me.
It took a little while, but, inevitably, the characters grew on me. Mike Leigh has a talent for converting scripts into a breathing entity- I slip into the story and stop question the existence of its characters. Career Girls is particularly chopy, though, with a god-awful, dreadful score, aging the movie in a bad way. Unfortunately this was a negative Mike Leigh experience & my least favorite of his mighty canon.