Dir. Meera Menon | USA 2013 | 93:00 | English | Rated PG | International Premiere
If you are looking for a chick flick where the chicks are not defined by men, this one might be of interest. Farah Goes Bang is a 90-minute coming of age movie about three college friends – Farah (Nikohl Boosheri), Roopa (Kiran Deol), and K.J. (Kandis Erickson). The girls were all raised in America with distinct heritages – Persian, Indian, and American. Set in 2004, they are traveling across America to canvass for John Kerry’s presidential campaign. Central to the film is Farah’s hope to lose her virginity – something her friends continually egg her on about.
Meera Menon, director and cowriter, was the recipient of the Nora Ephron Prize for best female filmmaker at the Tribeca Film Festival for this film. In her debut work, Menon aims to capture the political landscape of the time while portraying these three girls and how they encounter their own personal issues. The performances are convincing and the balance between comedy and serious self-discovery are commendable. Besides travelling in the name of politics, the girls carry on sharp-tongued dialogue that largely revolves around sex. Roopa and K.J. try to provide advice to Farah in their quest to get her laid and we see Farah slowly come out of her sexual shell.
The film’s website says that the picture “updates the classic American tradition of the Western, telling a new trail story – whose subjects are both cowgirls and Indians, both heroines and outlaws – in a diverse, powerful, and hilarious female voice.” Although predictable and a bit shallow, I would agree that it is great to see a sex driven comedy from a completely female perspective. Menon manages to successfully depict the contrast between the racism that Roopa and Farah face as they travel across the country and their sense of self as proud Americans. It is refreshing to see women of colour represented as individuals who are not defined by their ethnicity. Menon does a nice job of portraying the hope the girls have to impact political change while they simultaneously grow their friendship and effect change in each other.
Although the viewer is aware of the girls’ cultural differences, they are far outweighed by their similarities and the differences become somewhat of an afterthought. When all is said and done, this movie at its core is really about three friends sharing their lives with each other. Without giving the ending away, Farah confronts her virginity and by the time the election is lost, the girls are ready to face the world despite their bitter disappointment in Bush’s re-election. I would recommend Farah Goes Bang for its funny moments and ultimately tidy conclusion. However, I would caution viewers to prepare for some cheesy, less than subtle moments.