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Culture

The films that make us want to phone our friends

Stacey Dash and Alicia Silverstone in Clueless

More heart-warming than most on-screen love affairs, these movies serve as cinematic reminders of the power of female friendship

Lifestyle

Clueless, 1995

Destined to be the chicest best friends in Beverly Hills, Cher and Dionne were named after iconic divas, share a love for shopping and “both know what it’s like to have people be jealous of us”. Their inseparability plays out via matching skirt suits, secret handshakes and misguided schemes.

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The First Wives Club, 1996

The funeral of an old friend reunites Annie, Elise and Brenda, who drifted apart post-college. However, when the three catch up over a long, liquid lunch, it turns out they all have something in common: their husbands have traded them in for “new models”. And so forms The First Wives Club, as the trio team up for a taste of sweet revenge and rekindle their fierce bond in the process.

Diane Keaton, Goldie Hawn and Bette Midler in The First Wives Club
Saoirse Ronan and Beanie Feldstein in Lady Bird

Lady Bird, 2017

While Greta Gerwig’s coming-of-age masterpiece is, for the most part, an intimate study of mother-daughter relationships, Lady Bird’s friendship with classmate Julie is equally touching to observe. Despite an inevitable teenage falling-out that threatens to sever their union, the pair are drawn closer by their differences and are there to see each other through heartbreak, college applications and all the other ups and downs adolescence has to offer.

Melissa McCarthy, Ellie Kemper, Rose Byrne, Wendi McLendon-Covey, Maya Rudolph and Kristen Wiig in Bridesmaids

Bridesmaids, 2011

The obligations that can come with being a bridesmaid are enough to test any friendship – or, in the case of this raucous, knockabout comedy, ignite an all-out war. As old friend Annie and new friend Helen battle it out for bride-to-be Lillian’s affections, wedding preparations descend into farce, replete with dognapping, temper tantrums and a crude case of food poisoning. It’s a reminder that, with true friends, even the most chaotic moments eventually make for laugh-out-loud anecdotes.

Booksmart, 2019

Best friends since childhood, model students Molly and Amy have built up an irreplaceable bond, having isolated themselves from their classmates and embraced their school-swot status. Yet after realizing they’ve spent their entire high-school experience studying, the two are determined to cram four years of fun into one jam-packed evening – and create a bunch of lasting memories before going their separate ways.

Beanie Feldstein and Kaitlyn Dever in Booksmart
Regina Hall, Tiffany Haddish, Jada Pinkett Smith and Queen Latifah in Girls Trip

Girls Trip, 2017

Girls Trip sees the Flossy Posse – four forty-something friends who have drifted apart of late – head to a music festival in New Orleans to relive their salad days. Unsurprisingly, it’s not long before their all-girls vacation is filled with the sort of no-holds-barred behavior that only best friends can get away with.

Mickey Sumner and Greta Gerwig in Frances Ha

Frances Ha, 2012

Noah Baumbach’s black-and-white indie flick, which follows 27-year-old Frances as she ‘finds herself’ in New York, is an acutely observed tale of modern millennial friendship. The relationship between scatty Frances and Sophie, whose work-life success threatens to spark a rift between them, is utterly relatable: it’s frequently silly, occasionally fraught, but ultimately built on solid foundations.

Lisa Kudrow and Mira Sorvino in Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion

Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion, 1997

Since their teenage years, former school misfits Romy and Michele have been joined at the hip – shopping together, gymming together and sharing an apartment in LA. When their 10-year high-school reunion rolls around, the duo return to their alma mater determined to prove they’ve made it, but soon learn that their unshakeable friendship holds more value than the validation of their peers.

Susan Sarandon and Geena Davis in Thelma & Louise

Thelma & Louise, 1991

Few films capture ride-or-die friendship quite as faultlessly as Thelma & Louise – so much so that the title itself has become a byword for it. Worn down by the daily grind, the pair embark on an escapist road trip (a bucket-list must for all good girlfriends), but events soon take a turn for the worse. At its core, it’s a tale of unwavering loyalty.

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