The Good Girls, Alejandra Márquez’s deliciously acrid satire on class entitlement – loosely adapted from Guadalupe Loaeza’s article turned book Las Niñas Bien – is a work of such cutting precision and sly cynicism that one almost feels a touch of Buñuel and Saura. Using the 1982 Mexican debt crisis as its backdrop, which’d caused the peso to crash and led to sweeping neoliberalization, the film provided for caustic – if deceptively elegant – critique through a fabulously affluent and glibly bourgeois family’s stunning fall in social standing. That its central protagonist Sofía (Ilse Salas) is a proudly conceited and arrogant housewife in a distinctively patriarchal milieu – along with the fact that the book’s author and the film’s director are both women – imbued it with an additional sense of irony too. It begins with her birthday party where she charms everyone with her regal opulence and wallows in the attention of her drooling guests; that, along with an ostentatious splurge by her husband (Flavio Medina), formed the final high point of her smug existence – alternating between deluxe salons, exclusive clubs and vacuous gossips with her fawning circle of friends – as the scenario starts turning sour. The financial impact and accompanying social humiliations are clinically portrayed over the course of a year – and accentuated by an unconventional soundtrack – as she ceases to be the queen bee of Mexico City and her domestic air becomes untenable too; and, when a nouveau riche ingénue (Paulina Gaitán) who she was disdainful of becomes the new cynosure, her fall from grace becomes complete. The brilliant characterization and Salas’ astonishing performance made Sofia such a fully rounded person, and in turn complemented the schadenfreude with a hint of sympathy.
Director: Alejandra Marquez Abella
Genre: Black Comedy/Social Satire