7 March 2001 | great_sphinx_42
A Testament to Female Friendship
A rare and lovely movie focusing on female friendship, Boys On the Side explores 3 women, the way they sabotage themselves and how they love each other anyway. Mary-Louise Parker is Robin, an uptight real estate agent dying of AIDS. She wants to make a cross-country trip from New York to California- one that she made as a child and now holds sacred, as it was shortly before her younger brother died. Whoopie Goldberg is Jane, a black lesbian singer who also wants to go to California in hopes of getting more work. A stop in Pittsburg introduced Drew Barrymore as Holly, an adorable ditz with blond corkscrew curls and an indomitably upbeat view on life. When Jane and Robin arrive, she's being beaten up by her drug-dealer boyfriend, Nick. Violence insues, and they take off, leaving him tied up. Unfortunately Holly hit him a bit too hard with a baseball bat and he croaks. No one will miss the loser except his customers and Holly, who is far too forgiving for her own good. There is some talk of going to the police, but in the end they decide that it's good riddance to bad rubbish. They continue with the trip- until they are stopped in Tucson by Robin's bought of pneumonia. And in Tucson they stay, with Jane getting work at a local bar, Robin getting involved with the bartender that works there, and Holly- who is pregnant, maybe by Nick or maybe not- falls in love with a cop named, of all things, Abe Lincoln. Relationships get more complicated from there, with the director keeping a firm eye on the interaction of women as friends. I don't really have any sympathy over the darth of strong or likable male characters in this movie, largely due to the fact that I've seen dozens with half a five main male characters and one female sexpot. That's the standard, and it's both amusing and irritating when guys grumble or scream when someone has the audacity to make a movie where that is reversed. This is a movie made about women, for women. One woman will be punished, one will be forgiven, one will more or less die and one will be born before the movie ends. You won't be sad to see it end- it's exactly the right length- but you will be both satisfied and perhaps a bit meloncholic.