Tribeca coverage continues with Jason on Life Partners with Leighton Meester & Gillian Jacobs
When I say that the specter of Frances Ha hangs heavy over Life Partners, you should probably keep in mind that the specter of Frances Ha has been hanging over my entire life for the past year and a half - it nearly immediately became The Movie I Quote Constantly. But that said, Life Partners tells the story of the air-tight bond between two young women that experiences a little leakage when a gentleman caller arrives on the scene, tossing the sudden third wheel into chaos, so you know... it's not just me.
Standing in the shadow of Frances' greatness could squelch the life from anything, but Partners, with its light heart and sitcom tread, is a genial enough 93 minutes that it makes it out alive. It's not the sort of film I'll be demanding be screened for me upon my death bed, the light in Greta's eyes carrying me off into that great nothingness, but I imagine now and then I'll chuckle remembering this or that moment down the line.
One interesting contrast of note between the two films - whereas Frances only seemed a little gay for her bestie Sophie, and that tension was acknowledged and joked about, in Life Partners the Frances-esque character of Sasha (played pleasantly enough by by Leighton Meester) is actually a lesbian, but the topic of any non-platonic love between her and her heterosexual bestie (played pleasantly enough by Gillian Jacobs) is verboten. It seems a conscious decision by the film-makers but it strains towards self-consciousness - one of their friends would joke about it, at least. Life Partners isn't that interested in really difficult complications that linger though. It still has some growing up to do.