August 23, 2018

SCREEN | Regina Hall Works Hard – 'Support the Girls'

"This is a family establishment."
Regina Hall Andrew Bujalski | Support the Girls

Mumblecore filmmaker Andrew Bujalski sets his latest slice of life indie comedy in and around a Hooters-style, roadside "breastaurant" in Austin, Texas to comment on the touching, sometimes crushing compassion of women in the workplace. Support the Girls treats its characters with such affection deriving on-screen humour from daily stresses and the bond of common sisterhood.

Starring the always talented and highly underrated Regina Hall as Lisa, the general manager of said sports bar "Double Whammies", the film follows her struggles during a single shift on one bad day where not much goes right. Her slow reveal of abundance of personality and optimism in the face of chaos around her paints a really deep, nuanced portrait of mother figures as she takes care of everyone around her, mostly young women with drama to spare.

The luminous Haley Lu Richardson is such a lively, viscerally joyous presence as Maci, a waitress, who clearly relishes her role in life and bonds. No one is having as much fun as her in a winning role filled with such personality and twists on the otherwise tired stereotypical flirty bimbo waitress archetype.

Haley Lu Richardson Andrew Bujalski | Support the Girls

Another star turn comes from Shayna McHayle (aka Brooklyn rapper Junglepussy) who is absolutely revelatory as Danyelle, a side character, whose presence and thoughtfulness grows and grows with increased screen time. Her effortlessly appealing presence is derived from her undeniably powerful demeanour and confidence on screen.

What's most intriguing about the film is how much it shows the everyday complications women face from single parenting, managing employees, dealing with customers, and reacting to the whims of men. Hall is the perfect vessel for such effortless exasperation as her Lisa keeps cool and carries on with her life.

Bujalski's brisk film, full of heart, is such an exhilarating, superb portrait of women getting sh*t done on a daily basis. It's a subtle yet enlightening piece of social commentary about women and sisterhood in the face of a capitalist patriarchal society. It's an intimate but bracing piece of forward filmmaking about working implications of the labour force.

Support the Girls screens as part of the Vancouver International Film Centre's year-round programming at Vancity Theatre until August 30th and is available through video on demand.

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