The Girls at the Back review: Creative, competent, and intimate dramedy

Netflix’s The Girls at the Back follows a group of five best friends who embark on an emotional journey of self-discovery and liberation while vacationing.

Story

Five best friends — Alma, Carol, Leo, Sara, and Olga have traveled to Cadiz on their new annual trip. This time, things are different.

The purpose of this trip stretches beyond just having fun and entertaining the usual quirky shenanigans. No, this time one of their friends has cancer which changes the purpose of the hang without imposing its sense of finality on the whole affair.

In fact, there’s a cardinal rule that everyone on the trip has to abide by — don’t mention or talk about cancer. There are other rules too, like not paying much heed to the family back at home, however, that one’s not as strict as the former one since two of the friends have young daughters at home and have to frequently check up on them via the phone.

Before the trip, all of them wrote down a challenge on their respective pieces of paper. The five chits were then kept safe until the trip commenced.

On each of those chits are written some daring challenges that every one of them has to take on, much to the chagrin of many among them.

The first chit entails a challenge to hook up with a girl or have a lesbian experience. Following that, the girls have to do drugs, which leads to some injuries and stitches.

The third challenge entails committing a crime, following which the girls have to resolve their unfinished businesses.

The final challenge is to simply tell the truth, a challenge that’s not so simple as it sounds but the girls finally come through and pour it all out in front of each other, coming out of this life-altering roller coaster ride as the better versions of themselves.

Performances

The Girls at the Back shines in many departments of a filmmaking effort. Acting is undeniably a lustrous one among them.

All the core members of the cast play their roles to perfection. There’s heart-wrenching drama, moments of genuine laugh-out-loud laughter, and points of absolute vulnerabilities — all conveyed with a great degree of competence and panache.

The creative editing and shots do help but the original content of the text and subtext is conveyed sufficiently by the actors on their own. There is an uncomfortable range of emotions to be displayed, which the main cast does tremendously well.

The supporting cast doesn’t have a lot to do but they make do with whatever they have, with a satisfactory commitment to the respective roles. The actors playing Rebe and Leo’s mom deliver notable performances among the supporting cast.

Positives

One of the most immediate standouts of The Girls at the Back is the direction. Daniel Sánchez Arévalo expertly crafts the scenes and imbibes a refreshingly imaginative candor to the shots.

Whenever the characters in The Girls at the Back are communicating with anyone on the phone or having an internal dialogue with someone, the person on the other end is depicted with a physical representation.

The conversations over the virtual plane and inside the brain come alive, the camera moves and the scene cuts between the subjects with a deft flair.

Another strength is that the show has its pacing which is just sufficient enough to facilitate a great flow of events. The show never feels like it’s dragging and the scenes are rarely monotonous, thanks to the frequent creative techniques that the makers employ.

Negatives

The male characters seem too one-note sometimes. However, this is understandable since the prime focus of the narrative is on the girls and their stories.

Verdict

The Girls at the Back is great storytelling that follows and fleshes out a heavy and at times, equally light and comical journey of self-discovery and liberation. Deftly crafted and innovatively executed, this Daniel Arévalo dramedy delivers on more fronts than one, and it does so exceptionally well.

The Girls at the Back
The Girls at the Back review: Creative, competent, and intimate dramedy 1

Director: Daniel Sánchez Arévalo

Date Created: 2022-09-23 12:30

Editor's Rating:
4

Also Read: The Girls at the Back ending explained: Do the girls resolve their issues?