Life Partners is a 2014 romantic comedy directed by Susanna Fogel and written by Fogel and Joni Lefkowitz. It stars Gillian Jacobs, Leighton Meester, Adam Brody, and Abby Elliott. It is a very good and likable comedy about two best friends dealing with crossroads in their friendship and their personal romantic relationships.The film has a bright and sunshine-y look to it, partially because it is set in a hip area of Los Angeles, and because many of the characters wear bright colors and have animated and talkative personalities.
Paige (Jacobs) and Sasha (Meester) have been best friends for years, and have great chemistry together despite their personality differences. Paige is a lawyer who has a type-A personality and has a controlling attitude when she wants her way, which includes trying to control Sasha’s life. Sasha is a slacker musician who has abandoned her passion to work dead-end receptionist jobs, and doesn’t know what to do with her life, feeling anxious about being nearly 30 and having a lack of direction in her life. Despite this, the two are very witty and relaxed with each other, often teasing one another. There is a fun running joke where they heckle each other while driving in their cars, pretending to be angry motorists and cursing at each other, calling each other “bitch” and “slut” with love. They complement one another, and each need the other in their life because Sasha needs structure in her life, and Paige needs relaxation in herlife.
Their relationship is tested when each of them get involved in romantic relationships. Paige, who is straight, begins to date Tim (Brody), an affable young doctor and cinephile who is much more laid-back than Paige. Sasha, who is a lesbian, dates women who are younger and more immature and flighty, a reflection of Sasha not being ready to grow up. Sasha dates Vanessa (Elliott),who is a wannabe writer that is pretentious and selfish. Both of these romantic relationships threaten the core dynamic of Paige and Sasha’s friendship,because their romantic partners inadvertently take them away from each other.Paige become engaged to Tim, and spends much more time with him than with Sasha, leaving Sasha feeling like she has been ditched and not seen as “adult”as they are. While Paige doesn’t like Vanessa because she is a bad influence on Sasha, and keeping Sasha from maturing more as an adult. The best friends struggle with each other over accepting their differences and learning to work together as friends instead of trying to change the other to what they want.
The film shines because of the great chemistry between Jacobs and Meester. They bring a realness to their portrayals that makes them seem like real best friends, with warmth, in-jokes, light teasing, vulnerable confessional moments,and a deep love and care for one another. Particularly, Meester shines in this movie, as she is a rising young actress who hasn’t been given enough of the credit that she deserves for being a charming, talented, and likable actor and personality. Sasha is very relatable because she is a young woman hitting 30 who doesn’t know what she wants in life, and is tired of working soulless jobs, yet has given up her musical passion out of boredom or depression. Her slow realization that she needs to change her life herself and to break her pattern of working boring jobs and dating immature women is very true to many women’s decisions to grow up more past their youthful post-adolescent years. Meester brings vulnerability and understanding to this role that made a true standout in this film.
The script by Fogel and Lefkowitz is based on their own friendship, and feels honest in what a friendship between young women is like. The film passes the Bechdel Test for the most part, excepting scenes where Paige and Sasha are talking about Tim. The friends often talk about their jobs, Sasha’s relationships, their friendship, junk T.V., and their life aspirations. It’s a wonderful movie about female friendship, and was an enjoyable independent film that is now streaming on Netflix.