Directed by Pat O’Connor
Reviewed by Carmen Ferreiro-Esteban
The generational gap has always existed, I suppose, but, because the world has changed in the last decades with unprecedented speed, the gap between the world I lived in as a teenager and the world my teenagers live in now has become wider and deeper than the Great Canyon. Watching the movie Circle of Friends last week confirmed this for me.
Because I write for teenagers, I read a lot of books and shows aimed at this age group. Some of these shows, I have reviewed here. Among them Life Unexpected (https://www.notreadyforgrannypanties.com/2010/05/life-unexpected.html), The Nine Lives of Chloe King (https://www.notreadyforgrannypanties.com/2011/06/nine-lives-of-chloe-king.html), or The Lying Game (https://www.notreadyforgrannypanties.com/2011/09/lying-game-ringer.html). But it was upon watching for the second time the 1995 movie Circle of Friends that I realized how different, indeed, life was back when I was growing up.
Based in the novel of the same title by Maeve Binchy, Circle of Friends follows three best friends, Benny (Minnie Driver), Eve (Geraldine O’Rawe) and Nan (Saffron Burrows) from a small Irish town to their college years in Dublin. It’s basically a sweet coming of age story about friendship and first love. But it’s not only the clothes they wear and the lack of cell phones that are different between these characters and the ones from the shows mentioned above, their expectations in life, their interactions with their parents and especially their attitude towards boys and sexual relationships are strikingly different.
Although the story takes place in the 1950s and in Ireland, instead of the 1970s and Spain, the movie resonated with me in an uncanny way, as I imagine would do with any woman of the same age whether she grew up in Europe or in the States.
So if you are in a nostalgic mood or want to remember how it felt to be young, I strongly recommend you rent this movie. It would be worth watching even if Colin Firth wasn’t in it.