Girlhood (2015)


Critic Consensus: Powerfully acted and smartly scripted, Girlhood offers a fresh perspective on familiar cinematic territory.


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Fed up with her abusive family situation, lack of school prospects and the "boys' law" in the neighborhood, Marieme starts a new life after meeting a group of three free-spirited girls. She changes her name, her style, drops out of school and starts stealing to be accepted into the gang. When her home situation becomes unbearable, Marieme seeks solace in an older man who promises her money and protection. Realizing this sort of lifestyle will never result in the freedom and independence she truly desires, she finally decides to take matters into her own hands. (C) Strand

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Critic Reviews for Girlhood

All Critics (75) | Top Critics (20)

The movie captures that heady adolescent sense of time stopping and the moment mattering while standing far enough back to let us acknowledge all the pitfalls Marieme is moving too fast to see.

May 7, 2015 | Rating: 4/4 | Full Review…
Boston Globe
Top Critic

Girlhood has a raw emotional urgency and energy.

May 7, 2015 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…

From the opening montage of Marieme and other girls playing American football in full uniform, "Girlhood" resonates as something special.

Apr 9, 2015 | Rating: 3.5/4 | Full Review…

"Girlhood" is about as grim as movies get, but it's showing something real, and Sciamma has a feel for this period of life, the camaraderie, the jokes, the kinds of conflicts, the panic and the hope.

Apr 2, 2015 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

Director Sciamma uses an uncommonly light touch in depicting Marieme's gradual transformation from an unformed blank slate into a self-assured girl who doesn't always make the right decisions in the process of figuring herself out.

Mar 19, 2015 | Rating: 3.5/4

Sciamma (Water Lilies, Tomboy) gets unaffected performances from her non-professional cast.

Feb 27, 2015 | Rating: 2.5/4 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Girlhood


I saw this at the 2015 Cleveland International Film Festival. The title cashes in on the popularity of Linklater's Boyhood, but the original French title, Bande de filles, means something more like Gang of Girls. Marieme played by Karidja Touré is growing up in the Paris projects. She carries a lot of responsibility caring for her younger sisters, but her home life is not good and her grades are not good enough to get her out of the lower class existence where her mom is stuck. She drops out of school and joins a group of rebel girls who try to live by their own code rather than by the law of the streets, which are dominated by boys. For this gang, imagine the T-Birds and the Pink Ladies from Grease are combined into one. Marieme assumes a new identity and changes her name to Vic. Vic and the gang fight, dance, and party as often as possible. She learns to toughen up. Gang life teaches her to use other people's fear against them, to be the aggressor rather than the victim. Touré is haunting in the role. When money runs low she tries to maintain control, but the plot turns toward human trafficking of the drug running variety. Things get harrowing in writer/director Céline Sciamma's drama as Vic shows strength by being as butch as possible, yet how can she gain success and security with the roadblocks that have been set in her way. It doesn't cover nearly as much time in the life of Marieme as the film Boyhood covers its subject, but the main character is forced to grow up faster.

Byron Brubaker
Byron Brubaker

Super Reviewer

Superlative, brilliantly written film with not an iota of judgement or mawkish sentimentality, just truthful characters and an environmental that feels vivid. The performances are electric.

Daniel Parsons
Daniel Parsons

Super Reviewer


"Gilrhood" is an astute character study. Marieme(Karidja Toure) is a teenager who may not know who she wants to become but she is pretty sure who she does not want to be, going through many different looks and hairstyles along the way. Cut off from being promoted to high school, with becoming a maid like her mother not really an option, nor is vocational school. Plus, there is the issue of her abusive older brother Djibril(Cyril Mendy) at home. She gets her chance when she meets Lady(Assa Sylla), Adiatou(Lindsay Karamoh) and Fily(Marietou Toure) one day. She finds them glamorous. They in return invite her along to Paris. Marieme's opinion of them does not change, even with the other girls indulging in petty crime. Because to Marieme, there is strength in numbers, which is encapsulated in the opening sequence that starts with her finding comfort and fun in playing American football, before walking the gauntlet back to her apartment building.

Walter M.
Walter M.

Super Reviewer

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