Career Girls | Chicago Reader

Career Girls

An adroitly acted though still quite minor Mike Leigh film, about two old college chums (Katrin Cartlidge and Lynda Steadman) meeting up in London after six years. As frequently happens in Leigh's stories, each central character is accorded at least one hyperbolic personal trait: Cartlidge (who played very different roles in Naked and Breaking the Waves) moves in jerky, demonstrative gestures; Steadman?s character has a skin disease that renders her both tense and fragile; and Mark Benton, playing a fellow student who shows some interest in Steadman, stutters relentlessly. What's most remarkable about the two lead actresses (assisted by makeup designer Christine Blundell) is how much they change over six years in physical appearance as well as modified personal style, a point underlined by periodic flashbacks. Though the film?s theme never comes into sharp focus, there's still something agreeable about Leigh's low-key approach, compared to the grandstanding of Naked and Secrets & Lies.

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