Release Date(s)2013 (March 25, 2014)
Studio(s)Horizon Movies (Kino Lorber)
- Film/Program Grade: B-
- Video Grade: A-
- Audio Grade: B
- Extras Grade: B+
Best Friends Forever tells the story of two women on a road trip during an apocalypse. Starting out as close friends with their own personal problems that lead them down different paths as they travel from Los Angeles to Austin, their friendship is tested, and thankfully, not because of a guy (for a change).
This low budget end of the world tale is in business with one thing in mind: the relationship between its two leads, played Vera Miao and Brea Grant (whom both wrote the film while the latter directed it). If it were about anything else, say guys or zombies or anything that‘s being shoved into movies with this subject matter nowadays, it could have fallen flat on its face. While it has a sci-fi element to it, it’s really just a framework. It’s in the background and isn‘t the main focus of the story until towards the end, which is weird at times and acceptable at others. Harriet (Grant) has had a troubled past, including having been in an asylum of some sorts, and is just looking to move on with her life by going to school. Her friend (Miao) is a much more laid-back partying type of lady, so you can imagine where things are headed for the two of them.
I’m not saying that the movie doesn‘t have problems. It does, but mostly in the beginning and ending of the film. There’s a nice chunk of time in the middle where things move rather smoothly when we get to know these gals. This comes after a bumpy start and a bumpy ending, both set at parties and the latter of which tying itself down to an outcome of exactly what you would expect to happen. Even with its flaws, it still looks very good. It was shot on 16mm and given a very washed-out sort of look, which only adds more character to its apocalyptic environment. The performances are mostly good and there isn‘t much in the way of score, other than the songs used for the party scenes, as well as a few others along the way. Overall, this isn‘t a bad movie at all. It‘s nice to see a movie about women that doesn‘t feel trite or clichéd. It’s got its problems, but it’s much better than most movies with this subject matter.
The DVD release of Best Friends Forever features a very nice transfer. It is absolutely soaked in grain because of its 16mm source, but I miss seeing movies this grainy. It only adds to the character of the film for me. Colors are good, albeit dull (by design), blacks are deep, and contrast and brightness are mostly very good. The film’s soundtrack comes in a single English 2.0 Dolby Digital track. Dialogue is always clean and clear, while the music and sound effects really open things up for some dynamic range. It’s not a powerful soundtrack, per se, but it’s an effective one. Unfortunately, there are no subtitles to speak of.
The disc happily comes with a few extras. There’s an audio commentary with Brea Grant, Vera Miao and cinematographer Michelle Lawler; a Behind the Scenes featurette; a Best Friends Forever Remix music video; a Kickstarter Compilation Video; a section devoted to the Art of Best Friends Forever; and the film’s theatrical trailer.
If I had to describe Best Friends Forever to my friends, I would say that it’s Richard Linklater meets Night of the Comet meets Thelma & Louise, with a dash of indie quirk. That’s about it in a nutshell. It’s a fine film, not one of the best, but it’s well-shot, well-edited and fairly well-acted, so it’s certainly worth a look or two.
- Tim Salmons