Let’s face it; “girl code” is sacred. That unspoken pact of putting your friends before boyfriends is to friendships what the Ten Commandments are to Christianity. You don’t question it. And if you do, the break up between friends is even more painful than the end of a relationship. Sex and the City said it best: friends are your soulmates, guys are just people you play with.
Directed by Casey Gates, Girl Code chronicles the spoken v. unspoken language between two friends, touching on betrayal, insecurity, and the intricacy of female communication. Well-written and further amplified by spot-on performances, this short film reverberates with an enlightening logic.
Anna (Jessica Jacobs) and Nikki (Kate Spare) are the protagonist and antagonist duo in this tale, which follows a conversation between the two that plays out over the course of a brief, surprise encounter at the gym. From superficial greetings to a more profound message revealed, we witness the attempts of one girl trying to remedy a broken relationship with the other and the falsities that exist behind empty promises.
“…unspoken language between two friends, touching on betrayal, insecurity, and the intricacy of female communication.”
Reeling you in with beautifully crafted hues that amplify the intensity of the on-screen interactions, the drama is pleasantly accomplished on all staging and lighting fronts. There’s a very millennial feel to the affair, accompanied by a feminine delicacy that director Gates incorporates. For her directorial debut, Gates checks all of the boxes, with evident special care given towards leading Jacobs and Spare to provide a rare relatability in their respective parts.
Both actresses stand out, with Spare especially wearing her role as manipulative, insincere Nikki with remarkable ease. Jacobs also deserves a round of applause for her driven portrayal of Amy, a heartbroken girl who struggles with trusting her intuition, steadily unraveling at the seams. Considering this short is limited to a two-person principal cast, the women carry the plot to its fruition with grace.
All in the same, there’s an element missing that could have taken the production from good to remarkable. Difficult to pinpoint, it’s only after watching it back a few times, that the realization dawns on you – there’s not enough of a motive offered to explain why Nikki does what she does (no spoilers) to her former friend. Yes, you could argue that the jilted girl’s monologue about how self-centered Amy is could do it, but watching this from an honest-to-goodness female perspective, such reasoning alone doesn’t sit right. What else could be pushing the girl? Even villains have backstories. Conclusively, Nikki’s character begs to be explored even further.
“…a movie that allows any viewer to read between the lines of a woman’s psyche.”
Now, from a critic standpoint, what’s fantastic is that this 10-minute tale isn’t just intended for a targeted audience. Girl Code invites all genders to participate, intriguing in its calling card – a movie that allows any viewer to read between the lines of a woman’s psyche. If you admittedly lack interest in understanding the female brain (and if that indeed is the case, shame on you!) what should still appeal is the sub-strand context investigating the meanings behind what we say as human beings, and why we say them.
Truthfully, there’s nothing revolutionary here; a welcome relief for all intents and purposes. Girl Code is straightforward in its simplicity, which is ironic considering the story is based on the idea of interpreting the unsaid. Gates does a splendid job in keeping things concise while producing a piece that speaks to the concealed issues that dwell at the heart of friendship.
Girl Code (2018) Directed by Casey Gates. Written by Casey Gates, Jessica Jacobs. Starring Jessica Jacobs, Kate Spare, Dani Woodson.
7.5 out of 10