It all comes back to Lisa, who is trying to make the best out of a bad situation, failing and pushing on anyway. Hall plays her with a kind of barely contained restraint recognizable to black women everywhere.
Have you ever just had one really bad day? For Regina Hall’s Lisa, that day is today, and it’s terrible. The manager of a Hooters-esque family and sports restaurant, the film follows Lisa through a particularly trying workday as she deals with antsy employees, an overbearing boss, irate customers and structural issues with the restaurant.
We meet Lisa crying in her car before her day begins, and as the film progresses we start to see why. Lisa is a woman underwater, inundated with managing the issues of the girls who work for her as well as her own tumultuous married life. Despite this, she moves through the world with a profound empathy that those who benefit from it probably don’t deserve. In the film’s first 20 minutes she kindly fires one of her cooks after finding his cousin hiding in the ceiling, attempting to rob the place. Then there’s Shana (Jana Kramer) who has found herself arrested after breaking her abusive boyfriend’s foot and can’t cover her shift. Lisa runs an under the table car wash to raise funds to help her, only take the money back after realizing Shaina has no intention of leaving her boyfriend.
The cast is filled out quite well with supporting players. Junglepussy is standoffish but helpful as Danyelle, her loyalty lying not with the franchise, but Lisa directly. Haley Lu Richardson’s bubbly Maci is grating but essential. As things break down she keeps the energy up, filling in gaps left by missing staff and sour attitudes.
But it all comes back to Lisa, who is trying to make the best out of a bad situation, failing and pushing on anyway. Hall plays her with a kind of barely contained restraint recognizable to black women everywhere. The stress of having to clean up after everyone else while going it alone and with no recognition or thanks is wearing, and the strain ends up being to much for her. She walks off the job; long overdue and much deserved.
Support The Girls is a simple film, but it deals expertly with the precariousness of a working class experience. The women are treated with the seriousness and respect they deserve, even as the circumstances becomes ever so slightly more bizarre. Their friendships, feelings and desires are depicted as worthy of interrogation, and that’s the film’s biggest selling point. It is a movie about women, in all their mundane glory.