Tony Whitehead
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‘All these memories’
Career Girls
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This chapter draws attention to Mike Leigh's film, Career Girls, that focused on just two young women, Hannah and Annie, who used to be flat-mates when they were students in the mid-1980s and, having not seen each other for six years, spend a weekend together at Hannah's London home, which turns out to be a weekend full of coincidences and unexpected blasts from the past. Leigh made no attempt to obscure these coincidences, which the characters point out and discuss, as Stella Bruzzi noted in her review of the film in Sight and Sound: ‘Career Girls flaunts its own artifice, deliberately announcing itself as a deeply implausible tale. Similarly unrealistic is the use for the first time in Leigh's films of flashbacks, a familiar enough cinematic device, but an overtly non-naturalistic one, deployed extensively here to make explicit contrasts. The film shows, through the warmth of their characterisation and the acute observation of those around them, how Hannah and Annie have developed as people while staying true to themselves and to each other.

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