I’ve watched Girls Trip twice already, so there’s no hiding how I feel about it. Tiffany Haddish makes me incredibly happy whenever I see her. I’m convinced that any movie that features Chaka Khan’s “I’m Every Woman” will instantly become a favorite of mine (re: Bridget Jones’s Diary). Some critics might take a reductive approach and deem this movie mere froufrou, but I found it to be both enjoyable and insightful.
Girls Trip tells the story of a group of black women (delightfully named the Flossy Posse) who reunite after drifting apart for a few years. Together, they go on a trip to New Orleans for the Essence Music Festival, where one of them, Ryan (Regina Hall), is the keynote speaker. At its core, this movie is a conventional “chick flick,” glamorously stylized and full of elements of love and friendship through a female gaze (re: grapefruit scene).
But it’s not superficial. Emotionally, it satisfies with memorable and relatable characters. Each of the women has a fully realized personality — Ryan is the polished professional, Dina (Tiffany Haddish) is the wild child, Sasha (Queen Latifah) is the serious journalist turned gossip blogger, and Lisa (Jada Pinkett-Smith) is the partier turned pragmatic single mother. Even beyond their personalities, they face serious life problems: Ryan grapples with an unfaithful husband who’s also her lucrative business partner, Dina fights to be taken seriously, Sasha struggles with finances, and Lisa has a very hard time opening up to men after her divorce. Palpable tension exists between Ryan and Sasha, who were set to be business partners — Sasha even quits her job at Time — until Ryan decided to instead work with her husband, a relationship that has positioned her — or so she believes– to become the next Oprah.
The plot is not particularly tight, but there’s enough of it so that you have something to follow along. The film is really a picaresque collection of these women’s wild escapades during the weekend that they’re at the festival. The closest thing that we have to a plot? When the women help Ryan with handling her unfaithful husband’s paramour, who’s in town for the festival. At the core of the movie is the bond of female friendship in the face of mistakes and imperfections. Girls Trip explores how women help each other become their happiest and best selves, even if it means saying things that can be difficult to hear.
My favorite actress in this movie, unsurprisingly, is Tiffany Haddish, who’s well on her way, if not already, a comedienne extraordinaire. Her presence in comedy is exciting, given that she’s a woman of color in an industry dominated by white men. Haddish is a fountain of raunchy jokes, which, beneath their cheekiness, reveal insight about gender and race dynamics in everyday life (again, re: grapefruit scene). Her delivery never feels contrived and I always find her shocking honesty about taboo topics like sex to be incessantly refreshing.
Girls Trip is a comedic tour-de-force with a powerful message about female friendship. It’ll make you laugh, maybe cry, and most importantly, reflect upon and appreciate the complicated, but joyous relationships in life.