Have you seen Girls Trip yet? If yes, good! You should see it again! If no, here are five reasons you should have seen it yesterday.
- Hitting $30.4 million in the box office opening weekend, right behind Dunkirk, Girls Trip is the only R-rated comedy this summer that has been such a success (similarly rated Rough Night and The House didn’t do nearly as well, coming in with $19 million and $8.7 million in the box office, respectively). It’s a critical success too, hovering around a 90% fresh rating at Rotten Tomatoes.
- It’s so black. I mean SO BLACK AND FULL OF SO MUCH JOY. I haven’t heard about a black movie so much since Get Out and Hidden Figures, but this time, we’re not fighting for our lives! We’re not dying! We’re not being tortured! WE OUTCHEA AND WE CONTAINING MULTITUDES DAMMIT.
- It’s directed by Malcolm D. Lee, director of The Best Man (which fun fact: was Regina Hall’s first role) and written by Kenya Barris, writer and creator of black-ish. This shit is so funny and full that two hours flies by. I want at least three more sequels and a series after this.
- I am 900% sure Sasha and Ryan were dating in college and had a bitter breakup and this is the first time they’re talking in years and I need you to come back to this post after watching to confirm this.
- This is one of the best portrayals of the Strong Black Woman Syndrome I’ve seen in a long time.
Everyone raves about how fucking funny this movie is and they are underselling it. I went to see it twice and I still don’t know what happened in at least three scenes cause I was laughing so hard I didn’t hear anything. But this isn’t just a plotless comedy, there are characters in here that feel so real you’ll swear you were at the same college dance parties, cheered at their successes, and mourned losses along with them. You feel like you’ve known them for years and by the end of the movie, each one becomes more realized than you’d ever imagine.
Queen Latifah (Set It Off, Living Single, Bessie) plays Sasha Franklin, a multi-degree journalist who was once listed by TIME but now is competing with TMZ for stories and, by the look of her bills, is losing.
Jada Pinkett-Smith (A Different World, Set It Off, Gotham) plays Lisa Cooper, a divorced single mom of two kids who used to be the one who got the most action but is now very concerned with seaweed chips, comfortable clothes, and grass allergies.
Tiffany Haddish (The Carmichael Show, Keanu), plays Dina, who doesn’t have a last name because, like Beyonce, everyone knows and loves her so she doesn’t need one. The party of the group, Dina fights for the ones she loves without second thought, drinks all the time, smokes a ton, and fucks whoever (with consent) and is basically the feminism I wanna be.
The woman that brings them all back together is main character, Ryan Pierce, played by Regina Hall (The Best Man, Scary Movies 1-4, love of my life). A successful business woman, award-winning author, and “second-coming of Oprah”, Pierce’s book and brand, “I Can Have It All,” lands her an invitation to be Essence Music Festival’s Keynote Speaker, where she takes all her girls for a reunion.
As the movie follows all the women in unbelievable and unforgettable situations, we see Ryan work through her internalization of Strong Black Woman Syndrome with her girls right there to help her through it.
Strong Black Woman Syndrome is defined as the demand that black women “never buckle, never feel vulnerable, and most importantly, never, ever put their own needs above anyone else’s […] no matter how detrimental it is to their well-being. We see this addressed in dramas all the time.” From The Color Purple to Waiting To Exhale to No Good Deed, even when surrounded by love, the black women characters often feel alone.
But, in Girls Trip, it’s a surprise to see it tackled (very well) in comedy. Between drunk ziplining and drug-induced hallucinations, we watch Ryan Pierce, who believes her survival depends on being that Strong Black Woman, breaking. And as the weekend goes on, we watch everything crumble around her as she gets altitude sickness from the pedestal others have placed her on. But her loves don’t leave her in the rubble of herself, they stay and defend her and make her laugh. Even when she says she can handle it all, they stay around to remind her she doesn’t have to.
Everything’s not perfect by the time the credits roll, thank God. But it seems like there’s a light at the end of the tunnel. There seems to be a possibility of healing. The mask Ryan has been wearing, it’s slipped, but it’s not torn off. It’s like she’s on her way to getting back to herself, that she didn’t even know she was lost, and finally she’s taking the map the women who love her so much have given her.
Before you go! It takes funding to keep this publication by and for queer women and trans people of all genders running every day. And A+ members keep the majority of our site free for everyone. Still, 99.9% of our readers are not members. A+ membership starts at just $4/month. If you’re able to, will you join A+ and keep Autostraddle here and working for everyone?