The Incredible Adventure of Two Girls in Love is a coming-of-age 90s lesbian rom-com that has slipped under the radar for far too many years. It is a sapphic coming-of-age story we still struggle to see portrayed today. It can be difficult for any film to age well, especially a rom-com. It’s almost as if time has blessed The Incredible Adventure of Two Girls in Love with nostalgic charisma. Originally released in 1995, filmed in a short number of days and offering a run time of only 94 minutes, it’s saddening but not surprising to see this queer coming-of-age tale go almost unacknowledged for the past 20 years. This new restoration release presents a new opportunity to give this film some well-deserved love. The reflection of a queer 1990s small-town America it provides is comical and endearing, even with all its flaws.
Laurel Holloman (who plays Randy Dean) and Nicole Ari Parker (who plays Evie) both make their film debut—which provides a large explanation for the awkward and raw acting. The story follows young, butch dyke Randy Dean, as she navigates an affair with a married 27-year-old woman, the homophobic halls of her high school and the communal queer community she calls home. Living with her aunt, aunt’s girlfriend, aunt’s ex-girlfriend, and an endless supply of vegetarian dinners, scenes of Randy’s homelife provide a heart-warming glimpse into the chosen families queer people form.
As with any classic romantic comedy, opposites are bound to attract and that’s exactly what happens when the most popular girl in school, Evie, frantically requests the help of Randy and her mechanical skills. An awkward encounter turns to connection, which naturally leads to infatuation, as Evie and Randy spend more time together and less time doing anything else.
Writer and director Maria Maggenti pours something profoundly genuine and authentic into each scene, as we see the subtle courtship of lesbianism unfold—the exchange of a poetry book, the sharing of music, the uncomfortable intimacies that come with outside rejection and inward acceptance—the relatability and realness of their exchanges offer a glimpse into the silly, significant connections that are formed by first love. Using the predictable format of the romantic comedy genre, Maggenti guides us through the ignorance and tender lust of adolescent homosexuality in a way that pokes fun at the ridiculousness of homophobia and the rotten rejection of coming out.
The low budget is expected and obvious in parts, but in no way a negative, as it only adds to the overall rugged allure of the aesthetic. The soundtrack is lush full of riot grrrl anthems, featuring songs from Bratmobile and Bikini Kill, evoking radical dyke-ism at every opportunity. The film even ends with the quote “For my first girlfriend, may our relationship finally rest in peace”—it is obvious the intended audience for The Incredible Adventure of Two Girls in Love was lesbians (and lesbians only). With that in mind, it delivers an all fronts, bound to make any queer woman yearn for a nostalgic 90s existence never to be experienced again.
The Incredibly True Adventure of Two Girls In Love (Restoration) will be released on digital platforms via Strand Releasing soon.
by Kelsie Dickinson