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With: Emma Coles, Kris Bidenko, Kris McQuade, Peter Hehir, Kerry Dwyer, Stephen Leeder
Written by: Helen Garner
Directed by: Jane Campion
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Running Time: 76
Date: 11/21/1987

Two Friends (1986)

4 Stars (out of 4)

Stressed 'Friends'

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

I've admired all of Jane Campion's feature films, from Sweetie and The Piano to the recent, bizarre Holy Smoke, but discovering this early made-for-TV movie is a revelation. Two Friends (Image Entertainment, $29.99) may be in the running for her finest work. Filmed in a loose, documentary style, Two Friends charts the downfall of a friendship between two girls (the same theme as Ghost World) -- one walking the straight and narrow and attending a special school for smart girls, and the other running away from home, adopting a punk hairstyle and getting into trouble. While Campion barely seems to have hold of the film and its performances -- they seem to be operating independently of a camera or a director -- she grabs control in a hugely clever way by running the film chronologically backwards. It's all the more heartbreaking seeing the girls actually growing closer together when we've already seen them falling apart. This nicely packaged disc also includes a great early 1984 short by Campion, Mishaps of Seduction and Conquest.

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