In a sea of coming-of-age stories, “Life Partners” manages to be refreshing. Incorporating the right amount of humor and heartbreak, it becomes a story that is charmingly relatable instead of alienating.
One of the funnier narrative films at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival, director Susanna Fogel’s “Life Partners” follows best friends Sasha (Leighton Meester) and Paige (Gillian Jacobs), who have spent most of their 20s more invested in their friendship than in significant others.
Like many girls in their 20s, the two friends spend their time together mocking reality television shows like “America’s Next Top Model” and decoding vague text messages from potential lovers.
While Sasha and Paige are not in love the way most people want to be at this stage in life, their friendship quells their anxiety about growing up. However, when Paige starts to date nerdy doctor Tim (Adam Brody), Sasha feels increasingly cast aside.
While Jacobs and Brody give worthy performances in their roles, Meester’s character is the heart of the film. A receptionist who claims to be an aspiring musician, Sasha is a 29-year-old gay woman who is unwilling to confront the fact that she has not found her path in life.
While celebrating her birthday with Paige, Sasha sheds tears as she confesses how she wishes she could be 21 again, when it was okay to be lost. Sasha’s issues bleed into her love life, where she always manages to be with the wrong girl because her immature behavior attracts immature lovers.
The single source of happiness in Sasha’s life is her friendship with Paige, and it is painful to watch her adjust to no longer being the only important person in Paige’s life. “Partners” exposes the hard selfish truth — no one wants to share the person they love most.
While the strain in their relationship causes heartache for both Sasha and Paige, it also gives them the opportunity for self-reflection. As they undergo their own experiences and epiphanies, the ultimate question is whether growing up necessarily means growing apart.
Heartfelt acting combined with an intelligent handling of comedy, drama and relationships make the film a truly enjoyable watch.
A version of this article appeared in the Wednesday, April 30 print edition. Alex Mujica is a staff writer. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more WSN coverage of the 2014 Tribeca Film Festival, visit wsnhighlighter.com.