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Girlhood

A coming-of-age tale about a young French girl who finds strength with a group of friends

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Girlhood film playing at the Hollywood Theater

It's infuriating that films about girls growing up are rare, and that great ones that don't pander, or fall back on tropes, are rarer still. But this year we have Céline Sciamma's new film, about Marieme (Karidja Touré), a teenager living in the boring concrete suburbs of Paris who kicks her childhood to the curb after hooking up with a group of fun, confident, tough and mildly delinquent girls. Marieme — rechristened "Vic" for "Victory" — blossoms in their company: gaining an identity, learning new survival skills and reveling in the sweetness of intense girl-bonding. (There is no substitute for four girls, giddy on youth and new stolen dresses, singing along to Rihanna's "Diamond," and these four young actresses about broke my heart.) Adolescence is also a mess, and things go wrong for Vic, too; she's not immune to bad decisions. But Sciamma knows that good and bad, fun and boredom, confidence and wariness all matter, and she lets Vic's time of self-discovery unfold with an easy naturalism.

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