I'll never forget seeing Claudia's timeless, incredible movie in the theatres in 1978. It was the first time I had ever seen a female friendship presented in all its complexity: warmth, humour, sisterhood, competition, jealousy, longing, rage and absolute acceptance and trust... Looking at it today, Claudia's work was so ahead of its time. And this film is deeply timeless.
Weill has the patience of a documentarian and allows the actors to build their characters from types into complex personalities (shooting on location in shabby NYC apartments helps with the verisimilitude). The cast is superb all around, from Mayron and Skinner to the men who pursue them with varying degrees of success (an anxious Bob Balaban, flighty Christopher Guest and a charismatic Eli Wallach).
Shot on 16mm, which certainly befits its tone, it straddles the line at which charmingly amateurish and technically accomplished meet. Weill worked with a largely female crew—her friend Vicki Polon wrote the screenplay from a story they devised together, and Suzanne Pettit, for whom GIRLFRIENDS was her first and most illustrious gig, edited the film. Their combined efforts result in a work with an uncanny sense of the passage of time, one that closely mimics reality’s own deceiving swiftness.