Breaking the Girls: A Film Review

July 17, 2013 in inQueery


If you came of age in the late ‘90s/early 2000s and were lucky enough to have some lesbian friends who introduced you to films that spoke to that part of you that you were not yet ready to tell your parents about, then that selection must have without a doubt included the hilariously campy But I’m a Cheerleader (1999) by director Jamie Babbit—one of the few lesbian-centered films from those days I can still watch over and over again and appreciate on many different levels.

This summer Babbit, this year’s Frameline Award honoree, came to the San Francisco International LGBT Film Festival with a complete twist from the lesbian feminist comedy romances But I’m a Cheerleader and Itty Bitty Titty Committee (2000; Breaking the Girls is a thriller about sex, money, revenge, and murder, with so many turns that might leave you puzzled in your seat trying to connect all the dots. Starring Agnes Bruckner as Sara and Madeline Zima—best know for her roles in Californication and as the youngest of the Sheffield kids in the 1990s series The Nanny—as Alex, Breaking the Girls centers around these two strong female characters’ first encounter and their subsequent attraction and love affair that quickly turns into deception and betrayal. A B film reminiscent of Strangers on a Train and Wild Things—including the pool scene but with lots more girl-on-girl action—this deliciously sexy thriller will keep your intrigue going for the entire 85 minutes.

A truly superb performance by its leading ladies. Madeline Zima is particularly exciting to watch as a hot little crazy murderer and seductress. And if you replayed Denise Richards and Neve Campbell’s pool scene over and over back in the ‘90s, Madeline Zima and Agnes Bruckner’s will more than satisfy your cravings.

While this film is clearly intended to reach a mainstream audience, you still catch some beautifully crafted scenes that remind you of the candy-colored, dreamlike frames in But I’m a Cheerleader. The script and storyline—thanks to the participation of screenwriter Guinevere Turner (American Psycho)—were also well-written and carefully thought out—like pieces of a puzzle—making sure that after you leave the theater you are able to make sense of all your confusion from all the twists and turns in the film.

I must say it is incredibly exciting to see such great work by queer filmmakers and writers that will reach a mainstream audience with a lesbian romance as its focus point. It says a lot about the world in which queer kids are coming of age in this second decade of the 2000s—definitely queerer and much more thrilling than the late 1990s, that’s for sure.

Breaking the Girls is scheduled to be out in theatres in August. Make it a lesbian night out to your nearest theatre!

Jacqueline Bialostozky is a Staff Writer & Editor at InQueery.
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