Following just over 24 hours at Double Whammies, a fictional family establishment off a Texan highway, writer-director Andrew Bujalski’s latest feature Support The Girls is joyfully life-affirming. Beginning the morning crying in her car, General Manager Lisa (Regina Hall) is preparing for another day, a day the audience is dropped right into.
Anyone who has worked in the service industry will recognise the sad-looking staff room and the sticky surfaces of this ‘breastaurant.’ A place where everyone is young, replaceable, and just trying their best. Among the staff are enthusiastic Maci (Haley Lu Richardson), Danyelle (Shayna McHale), risk-taking new girl Jennelle (Dylan Gelula), and of course the mother hen Lisa, in which Regina Hall turns out a career-best performance, equally caring and stoic.
The film’s title comes from a fundraising day Lisa sets up to help an ex-employee in a sticky situation – cans collecting money for a car wash are branded “Support the girls!” in felt-tip pen – but it’s equally a call to action for the audience. Bujalski’s light-hearted tone keeps the issues of sexism and systemic misogyny accessible. As the girls train new staff early on in the film, one asks about how the customers act; Lisa is quick to calm their worries: “We have a zero-tolerance policy on anything like that, this is a family place and us girls are like family.” And her words are proven true at various points throughout the film, just because their uniform is a push-up bra and denim hotpants doesn’t change anything, she emphasises, “Our customers know where they can find a strip club.”
Bujalksi’s camera is authentic and unintrusive, the film could almost be a documentary. With a shining performance from steadily rising star Richardson, alongside fantastic comedic moments from rapper-turned-actress McHayle, there is no weak link at Double Whammies, and Lisa is there for every one of her girls; even if that means leaving nothing for herself. Support The Girls is a wholesome and nuanced celebration of sisterhood and just getting through the day, one that may feel uneventful, but is memorable all the same.
by Millicent Thomas
Millicent Thomas is a proud Mancunian studying Film & Publishing in Bath. She has written freelance for Little White Lies, Much Ado About Cinema, Reel Honey, and more. Her favourite films include Logan, Columbus, and Spy-Kids. Follow her on Instagram, Twitter and Letterboxd at @millicentonfilm