Every year, the movie industry decides to produce a "woman's" film. There have been movies like Thelma and Louise, Widow's Peak just to name a few. But once in a while, a pure film depicting women in realistic and charming style comes along. Boys on the Side is one of those movies that is meant to be seen with friends. The three central characters include: Jane, a talented lounge singer who happens to be a lesbian (Whoopi Goldberg), Robin, an AIDS-plagued young woman who decides to take a cross-country trip (Mary Louise Parker) and Holly, a spirited twenty-something whose significant other is abusive (Drew Barrymore). This trio brings to life the friendship of these diverse women. Robin works as an agent who embarks upon a journey headed for California. There is only one problem - she needs a companion to drive with. Jane comes to answer Robin's ad but decides that they are incompatible - that is until her car gets towed away and she loses her job. At that point California sounds like a good idea.
The real fun starts when they stop to see Holly at her demolition derby home. After viewing life from a very scary yet realistic vantage, Holly departs her adobe. But again, the plot twists and she ends up joining the road trip. At this point the true theme of the movie comes in. As the trio get to know each other, an unusual friendship emerges and a "womanly" bond forms between them. Though the film does explore the real life dramas of illness, murder trials and death, the comedy and spirit found within these characters immediately wipe away any tears that may form. It examines the real reason they're best friends.
No, this is not a "Thelma and Louise" story, although in the beginning you may think so. And no, it is not a soap-opera story where someone's fianc" happens to be their brother because her mother happened to have an affair with the gardener and the fianc" is the gardener's son. This IS a story with many of life's morals. Life's cruelty and joys are shown through the eyes of the best sort of people in the world - friends. Many will walk out of the theater tearfully. Others will be solemnly thoughtful about the harsh representation of life's troubles. I did walk out tearfully, but with the image that defines what friendship feels like. Riding in a van and sticking your feet out so the nail polish can dry and singing off-key with your friends to the tune of Bonnie Raitt's song, "You Got It." .
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.