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The Scarlet & Black

The Scarlet & Black

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Feven Getachew
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Michael Lozada
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Nathan Hoffman
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Harvey Wilhelm `24.
Harvey Wilhelm
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Film Review: “Girls Trip” offers laughs, femme power

This past Tuesday, four dedicated S&Baddies took a trip to the local cinema to see “Girls Trip.” The movie centers around a group of college friends reuniting 20 years later for a weekend trip to New Orleans, where one of the women has been invited to give the keynote speech at the Essence magazine festival for her success as a marriage expert. Some might say we took a Girls Trip to see “Girls Trip.”

Setting: The Strand. Time: 9:33 p.m. (the film started at 9:10 p.m., but of course we were fashionably late). The crew: myself, Keli “I can’t wait to start a ‘Girls Trip’ themed Instagram” Vitaioli ’19, Mira “I’m from Jersey” Braneck ’19, Candace “Candy Cane Peppermint Ice Cream” Mettle ’19 and Kate “I don’t know what I got myself into” Irwin ’20.

As we settled in as the only occupants of the theater that Wednesday night with our more than reasonably priced concessions, we prepared for a wild ride. We were not disappointed.

Within minutes, “Girls Trip” draws you into the world of the Flossy Posse, which consists of Regina Hall, Jada Pinkett Smith, Queen Latifah and Tiffany Haddish, each with their own unique personality.

As Braneck would say, this was a silly film. Without spoiling it, here are a few comments the Girls Trip watching “Girls Trip” had in the theater:

Mira Braneck: Have you ever wanted to MO [make out] with a bald man and touch his tender, tender head?

Candace Mettle: Sure, objectify the Black man (in response to the white agent grabbing one of the main characters’ husband’s butt).

Keli Vitaioli: This is how I feel when I read Candace’s Twitter about white women. Like I know I am one and honestly thank you for putting me in my place.

MB: I love to watch bad ass bitches get together as friends. Does his shirt say CROC? (as in the perfect shoe) (his shirt said Ciroc)

Kate Irwin: Men are trash.

CM: I don’t like him (onscreen man states he “hasn’t met his equal yet”). Oh OKAY, so all the women he knows are lesser.

MB: I don’t wanna touch his bald head anymore.

Candace also “mmmmhmmm”ed literally at the same time as the women on screen. If that isn’t Black girl magic, I don’t know what is.

“Girls Trip” successfully levels the playing field between expectations placed upon those identifying as men and those identifying as women in film. We were able to see women being hilariously gross with each other and having a good time, without worrying about needing to please the men in the theater or on screen.

This was a film written by and for women, and that means they understand that women can effortlessly shift between releasing their bladder at an inopportune time, humping a lamp and later giving a keynote speech to a room full of other excellent women. Women cannot be reduced to just a two-dimensional pretty face, and “Girls Trip” will leave you angry anyone ever tried.

When the film came out, it was received as the “Black version” of “Rough Night,” another film in the women’s buddy comedy tradition that came out this year featuring a cast of white women. It would be dismissive to place “Girls Trip” in a category of “separate yet equal to.” This classification also highlights Hollywood’s propensity towards placing women in competition with each other. We must celebrate “Girls Trip” for the rarity that it is, a comedy celebrating friendship between Black women and their complexity without denying them their Blackness. “Girls Trip” should not be placed in competition with other films in already too sparse of a genre: women enjoying being with other women.

While the film celebrates female friendships, there are also moments it falls back onto misogyny. While Regina Hall’s husband is cheating on her, they describe the woman he is sleeping with as an “Instagram Ho” and her butt injections become a joke throughout the rest of the film. They portray this “enchantress” as a cruel woman, with less emphasis on the wrongdoings of the husband than feels necessary. While a good dance-off is essential to any film, I would have preferred if the competition between women didn’t escalate beyond that letter.

As a woman watching, it was striking to see women being celebrated for not being perfect and for looking to each other for help. “Girls Trip” emphasizes that it is fine to turn to your posse for help — after all, what are the matching gold necklaces for? There are moments where Hall has to chant to herself that she is “strong, powerful and beautiful.” No one is perfectly confident on their own, and it is easy to feel like when you fall you won’t be able to get back up. That is what the women around you are for, and in “Girls Trip” we saw a celebration of platonic female friendships as worthy of attention and value.


KATE: It had its moments that really made me laugh, but there were parts that were just so terrible that it was almost funny. The whole peeing thing was just awful, but I loved it. It was just really funny. I wouldn’t see it with my mom, but I would definitely see it again. I really liked going with the girls from the paper because I felt it was a really good newspaper bonding experience.

MIRA: “Girls Trip” gives you a wild hallucination scene followed by neon colored wigs followed by a dance-off followed by a bar fight. And a girl gang complete with bad a$$ b*tches is the most central aspect of this movie? Depiction of women having fun with each other? Bodily functions?? Um yes please. Give me more female friendship like this on the screen. Highly recommend.

CANDACE: I don’t think I will see this movie again. It was very predictable but I laughed. Rather, I’m inspired to go on my own Girls’ Trip and surround myself with femme power. I do hate though that in order for a movie to show raw women, it still used harmful tropes. The dark-skinned woman was the homewrecker and malicious, and looking out for other femmes only applied to “good women,” the ones who don’t put themselves in messy situations. I guess it’s asking too much to have a film that portrays all women as worthy of respect.

– Keli Vitaoli ’19

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