Ty Burr
August 15, 1997 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Two Friends

type
Movie
Current Status
In Season
mpaa
Unrated
genre
Drama

We gave it an A-

Director Jane Campion’s deeply moving first feature film (made for Australian TV and given a brief U.S. theatrical release last year) proves that the spooky, empathic postfeminist insights of Sweetie, An Angel at My Table, and the Oscar-winning The Piano were there from the get-go. Two Friends shows the dissolving bond between two adolescent best buds — hapless ”bad girl” Kelly (Kris Bidenko) and helplessly prim ”good girl” Louise (Emma Coles) — but it tells the tale in reverse, starting with Kelly’s life as a punky drifter and tracing the relationship back to a point of common, childish grace. Home video provides an end run around the slightly pretentious structure; if you watch the whole film, rewind, and play the first sequences again, the sense of two women staring across the gulf of their diverging destinies becomes even more heartbreaking. A-

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