"The Secret Life of Girls" is a teen comedy drama that concentrates on the unexpected difficulties of approaching adulthood. Released in 2008, the movie stars Majandra Delfino as Natalie, and was directed by Holly Goldberg Sloan, who had previously written remake scripts of "Angels In the Outfield" and "Mighty Joe Young." The film pleasingly combines elements of a high school drama, a first-love romance and a nostalgic look down memory lane for adult viewers.
The Lead Character
Natalie is shy, bookish and somewhat nerdy; she is a wallflower held back socially by the idea -- as firm in her own head as it is in others' -- that she is not the kind of girl that boys like. This issue is exacerbated by her choice in friends: Kay, played by Megan Good, is a stunner and a party-girl success around whom boys and social events orbit.
Natalie's parents seem ill-matched; her father is a psychology professor working at a local college, while her mother is a hippie-throwback (the movie is set in 1973). When it is revealed to Natalie that her father has been conducting an affair with one of his students, she decides the best way to deal with the situation would be to bring it out into the open. Her first hard hit on the journey to understanding adult trade-offs comes when, instead of reacting how she expects her to, her mother and her family set about creating an elaborate structure of denial.
One of Kay's conquests meets Natalie and, to her surprise as much as anyone else's, finds her -- Natalie -- more attractive than Kay. This circumstance sets up a dichotomy for Natalie, where she is at once thrilled and confused; the device serves to underline the more pervasive script elements of the realities of her parents' relationship.
The Story Unfolds (No Spoiler)
The unwinding of the plot is relatively complex for subject matter that initially suggests itself as at best frivolous teen-centric fluff. Its reflections on how real life actually is are deeper than expected, and the script raises pertinent questions for young adults on the downsides of truth and the upsides -- as much as the idea may initially seem a non sequitur -- of deception. Life is tumultuous and confusing, and "The Secret life of Girls" attempts to address that fact in an accessible way.
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