Film review: Girlhood, Céline Sciamma

Film review: <i>Girlhood</i>, Céline Sciamma

Director: Céline Sciamma
Starring: Karidja Touré, Assa Sylla
Cert: 15 Running time: 113 mins

If I was to ask you to sit with me and watch a two-hour film about a gang of 16-year-old girls (the film’s French title is Bande de Filles) as they go through typical teenage ups and downs, domestic tribulations, romantic excursions and brushes with local wrong ‘uns in a down-at-heel cité estate on the outskirts of Paris, you might head for the door, fearful of a grim time. How wrong you’d be, as Céline Sciamma’s third film depicting young females while they’re growing up is packed with beautiful moments.

Marieme is our protagonist, a student who achieves low grades and appears to be drifting idly along. She’s shy, unassuming and lives in a tiny flat with her sweet younger sisters, whom she dotes on and cares for when her mother’s out working to make ends meet, as well as an a overbearingly protective older brother. However, her small world changes forever when she’s ingratiated into a tight group of three very charismatic friends who, at first, treat her with suspicion and, eventually, sisterly love.


It’s a beautiful study of a young woman’s tentative steps into adulthood, blossoming confidence and lessons in the school of hard knocks. Karidja Touré turns in a bravura perfomance as Marieme – at turns heart-breakingly vulnerable and fiercely rash, it’s a wonderful piece of acting from a virtual beginner. The film (and soundtrack by Para One) will live long in your memory and perhaps change any preconceptions of the lives being led in Paris’s grittier immigrant outposts. 

Read more film and book reviews…

Share to:  Facebook  Twitter   LinkedIn   Email

Previous Article 10 reasons to visit the Vendée
Next Article Controversial Paris rent control comes into effect

Related Articles

A lifelong Francophile, Justin is the Editor of FrenchEntrée

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *