Good Girls

Good Girls is a short film about the relationship between two sisters. Julia is resentful that Paula has entered puberty and abandoned her for boys. She avenges her sense of rejection by constantly annoying her sister.

The family live on a farm and their stables have become so full that foals of varying sizes have been kept together. This has led to one losing an eye roughhousing with a bigger animal. Unable to sell a one-eyed horse, and unable to afford to keep it, Julia’s parents decide to send the animal off for slaughter.

Julia’s affinity with, and attempt to save the life of the foal mirrors her identification with the animal’s predicament, of being kept in this in-between state between childhood and adulthood. Pre-pubescent, she is sharing a room with her sister who has now had the world of adulthood opened to her, sneaking out at night and exploring her sexuality. Julia is cut off from all of that, yet kept in close quarters with it.

The horse’s injury brings up all of Julia’s pain, and its sale mirrors her own sense of having been discarded. No longer in the cute stage of being a kid, not yet in the sexy stage of being an adult, she struggles with a feeling of being devalued, worthless. A good-for-nothing kind of age.

Without needing to be over-explicit, this film is about women’s relationships under patriarchy. What Julia is becoming aware of is how her appearance and sexual (in)accessibility are determining her place in the world, and sense of worth. Paula, a few years ahead of her in this game, acts more cynical and matter-of-fact. She belittles Julia’s seemingly over-the-top reaction to the slaughter of the foal, but she is not uneffected by its plight either, or unmoved by Julia’s grief.

Paula is trying to decide when and how to lose her virginity, an act which has undoubted impact on a woman’s place in a patriarchal society, and definitely has implications for her worth in the eyes of others. How consumed she currently is with negotiating this major life step leads her to neglecting her relationship with her sister. The dysfunctionality between them is a result of each facing their own challenges with a structure which doesn’t value their inner selves as women, but their outer sexual utility.

Again, Roquet manages to pack so much into a brief short film. Able to evoke resonant relationships in little time, and comment on wider social structures without being heavy-handed. Roquet has a real gift for nuance.

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