Proving once again that European cinema is decades ahead in the realm of entertainment targeting teenage girls, All That Glitters is an incisive (yet admittedly lightweight) drama/comedy that brings a smile to your face despite its flaws.
The film concerns two young women, Ely and Lila, who have been best friends all their lives. Frequently mistaken for sisters, the two are inseparable, and delight in making fun of their suburban neighbour and doing their best to sneak into the most exclusive Parisian nightclubs. After spending years dreaming of entering the upper echelons of society, a chance meeting means they suddenly find the highlife they crave within reach. In case the title of the film didn’t tip you off, it soon becomes clear that entry into such a privileged world isn’t without its price.
Géraldine Nackache co-directs, co-writes and stars as Ely, and she and Leila Bekhti (Lila) are perfect as best friends. I must admit, I was a little mystified as to their age – they’re clearly not in high school yet act like they should be – however their glee is infectious. Rounding out their friendship group is Audrey Lamy as Carole, their oh-so-blunt friend who works as a personal trainer and has to put up with them at their worst. Her scenes of indignation are possibly the best in the film.
Ely and Lila’s flirtations with the cultural elite are central to the film, so much so that it’s disconcerting that this particular subplot isn’t concluded. In fact, the main flaw with All That Glitters (apart from a title that telegraphs the narrative curve like possibly no other title ever) is that there are a number of subplots that are simply forgotten about.
The soundtrack is a little strange, if only for the reason that it’s filled with songs by The Streets. This certainly suits the mood of the film but it’s a little strange to hear the most-definitely-not-French Mike Skinner’s tunes presiding over the events.
If the film hadn’t dropped the ball in this way, then it would have been a great piece of cinema, indeed. As it stands, the performances of the central characters and the marvellously fun writing means that All That Glitters is an entertaining hour and a half, though not much more. As I hinted at in the beginning, it’s also rare to see mainstream films that are written for and by women, and it’s a welcome entry into that rather slim cannon (which means, by default, that it’s a great alternative to anything Twilight-related.)Rating: