Plot: Kelly (Kris Bidenko) and Louise (Emma Coles) have been friends forever it seems, as if nothing could come between them and they’d always be as close as sisters. But one event can change lives beyond all calls and in the case of these two friends, that event involves a very prestigious and even more exclusive private school. Louise is accepted to attend and does, but Kelly’s father forbids her from going, even though she was also accepted. Although this could have been a minor issue between them, it proves to be a most serious problem and soon enough, other cracks begin to appear in the foundation of their friendship. But before this all happened, the two were as close as two young women could be, the very best of friends. Instead of watching as the two drift apart, we’re brought in at the tail end of things, so we’re shown things in backwards order, as the girls return to their close friendship, the one they used to have.
Entertainment Value: This Aussie import has a solid storyline, able direction from Jane Campion, and above all else, an overdose of 1980s texture. This is with good reason however, as the movie was made in 1986 and looks it, tons of ’80s style can be found here. But I don’t think that is bad, as I happen to like the look of the era and since it is natural here, no one should be too concerned. In addition, the characters are well written and never stray into stereotypes too often, so it never feels like it is defined by the time period. The hair, color scheme, and dialogue all shine of that wonderful decade though, so be prepared for a blast from the past, to be sure. I liked Two Friends because it had some interesting characters and told an above average, realistic story, one which makes you want to watch, but doesn’t use tricks to keep your attention. It is basic in terms of visuals & production values, but also very grounded & natural, so things balance out well.
After she directed a number of short films, Jane Campion struck out into feature length cinema with Two Friends. I don’t think her lack of experience is evident, as Campion handles the needed tasks well and delivers a solid overall picture. Campion stays with the basics in terms of visuals and style, using a simple approach that pans out quite well. In that, she allows the focus to rest on the storyline, characters, and performances, which is how a film like this should be treated. Two Friends simply doesn’t need flashy visuals or rapid fire edits, it is a grounded kind of movie and Campion uses a natural, effective approach. We’ve seen her expand into more stylistic material however, so we know she can dazzle us when she needs to. Other feature films directed by Campion include The Piano, The Portrait of a Lady, Sweetie, and Holy Smoke.