Life Partners (2014)
Staring: Leighton Meester, as Sasha, and Gillian Jacobs as Page, with supporting roles by Adam Brody, as Tim (the boyfriend), Gabourey Sidibe as Jen (aka one ‘N’ Jen) and Beth Dover as Jenn (aka two ‘Ns” Jenn). Released in April of 2014, the film was directed by Susanna Fogel & co-written with producer Joni Lefkowitz.
Life Partners, a truly honest-to-goodness down to earth film, tells the story of two close and infinitely linked best friends, Sasha & Page; late twenty-somethings in need of a bit of cognitive and spiritual growth. As the two pursue relationships and proper adulthood behavior, their un-linkable bond tethers at the seams when Page enters into a serious relationship. Through out the film, the two equally are sort of forced to face eye-opening life style changes, which prove to be developmentally difficult.
Page—needed to stop being taken care of all the time and getting her own way, and Sasha needed to move her life forward not only with her love life, but her career as well while adjusting to Page having a boyfriend.
The main reason I enjoyed this film was because it does such a great job of incorporating a strong, friendship bond between Meester’s character, Sasha, and Jacobs’ character, Page even when the pair were at odds with one another. The best instance in this case is after Sasha begins to date Vanessa—the former ex of one of the girls’ friends Jenn (aka two ‘Ns’). Following an awkward, double date at a bowling ally, Page and Sasha go for a hike and ‘discuss’ Sasha and Vanessa. What I really enjoyed about this scene was Sasha and Page’s reactions to one another when they realized the other was lying about how they truly felt in regards to Vanessa. Instead of coming clean, both continue to layer the conversation with subtext as neither wants to let the other out lie the other, regardless if both of them know that the other isn’t being honest.
Yes, Page gets into a serious relationship with a guy she originally thought wouldn’t be her type and yes, we see Sasha go from one lesbian relationship to the other, but that relationship isn’t what grounds the story or film. The core of Life Partners, is Page and Sasha working on away to find a new balance with one another with Page’s new boyfriend. In my opinion, one of the best things this story and film succeeds at is avoiding some the stereotypical clichés of this kind of, three is a crowd/third wheel/love triangle relationship, like: the jerky boyfriend, an overtly, whinny/emotional girlfriend, the dominating boyfriend, and the three second love at first sight trope with Page and Tim’s relationship.
I liked watching their relationship grow. Honestly, I believed I was going to end of hating the person that came in between these two close friends, but I didn’t. Adam Brody does a good job in this role with a character who is genuinely a nice person. Another stereotype that could be assumed from the premise of the film would be that since Sasha is a lesbian, she is having trouble adjusting to Page and Tim’s relationship because she’s been waiting years for Page to ‘come out of the closet’. Wrong. Page is upset that she’s not only been phased out/replaced, but that she’s lost her closest friend.
At Page and Tim’s backyard barbecue, when Page fails to set Sasha up with a co-worker, she and Page get into a fight over how things have changed between the two of them. Page admittedly states that eventually you grow out of talking to your friends late at night, and Sasha hits her with the realization that things haven’t really changed for Page because she’s still able to talk to someone late at night. Only now, it’s with Tim. In a blink, the film’s anchoring indented focus on friendship comes front and center with the two main characters finally facing it head on.
By the end of Life Partners, a part of me felt like her character (Sasha) fell off of the radar considering she was the one that seemed most affected by the fizzling of the friendship. In addition, her need of a character arc presented itself as being more prominent than Page’s through out the film. I’m not saying she needed to be happily ever after or what have you, however it would have been nice to see what her next step was after her break up with Mia. Her break through at the end only scratched the surface and I would have loved to see a bit more from her character.
In this moment, Sasha’s finally realized that she needs to move forward with her life and stop dating young, fresh-out-of-school women who live at home and don’t have plans for a career or adulthood. Although Sasha differs from these women with the fact that she has this dream of being a musician and lives on her own, her parents pay her bills and for eight years, it seems she’s yet to properly pursue that dream.
Questions/Thoughts I Had by The End of The Film:
Tim was the male equivalent of Sasha. Page even mentions in the opening sequence that she wants to meet someone that she likes as much as Sasha.
Did Sasha get another job?
Did she get into a mature relationship?
What happens with her music?
- The opening sequence & the ending sequence. I put these two together because they mirror each other. Each sequence begins with Page and Sasha in their cars at a red-light honking at one another and calling each other names. It’s clearly a relevantly inside joke between the two of them, similar to the joke with their phones where they put each other in their contacts as ‘Husband’ & ‘Wife’. The two have drifted from one another and have a few issues to work out with one another, but the red-light scene signifies that the bridge and bond between them isn’t completely gone or forgotten.
- The scene between Page and Tim in the woods during their camping trip when he asks her to marry him. The proposal could be seen a mile away, but I admit that it was a cute set-up for the two. It was also the first time I caught myself thinking, “aww” in regards to the two of them.
- The grocery store scene between Tim & Sasha following fights that they each had with Page. Yet, another interesting scene that showed a bit more depth to Tim’s character and it made me appreciate his role in Page’s life. This scene also hinted at a possible connection he and Sasha might form as Tim and Page took their relationship to the next level. In this scene, Tim gives a lost Sasha over due advice about the direction in which she might want to take her life next, following the recent loss of her job. Intentionally or not, a few scenes earlier Tim throws a realization in to Page’s face about her controlling tendencies when she’s served with a lawsuit after refusing to admit her wrong doing in a fender-bender.
- The short sequence of Sasha playing “How Many Lesbians Fit Into A Subaur” game and spotting Mia next to her as Jenn (aka two ‘Ns’ Jenn) gives her the evil eye. It was short, but oh, so funny.
- Last but not least, the scene with Sasha as she has a melt down in the drive-thru at Jack in The Box after her fight with Page. It’s a really funny scene to look at, but also really sad because Sasha’s breakdown over the lack of mozzarella sticks, the last constant in her life, signifies the final support beam holding her together. There in that drive-thru her best friend has abandoned her, her life isn’t what she hoped it would be, she’s unhappy at work and now her most cherished comfort food has abandoned her. Funny place to hit rock bottom, but we all have our moments, right?
Movie Rating: ★ ★ ★ out of four. The story and characters are great and I was never pulled out of the film with by the character’s grow/development. The film ended on one of my favorite coming full circles techniques at the end and it’s the kind of film I’d love to watch with my best friends, my sister and my mother because of the life long friendship/bond/ premise behind it. I truly enjoyed Life Partners and I have permanently pinned it to my Netflix’s queue. That’s it for this bi-weekly movie review. Hope to write another film review for you soon, but until then:
As always, stay creative,