Appearing on the red carpet for “Very Good Girls” were Dakota Fanning, Boyd Holbrook, Jenny Lewis, formerly of the rock band Rilo Kiley, who served as composer and music supervisor on the film, and screenwriter/director Naomi Foner. Also appearing in the film are Elizabeth Olsen, Demi Moore, Richard Dreyfuss and Ellen Barkin.
“Very Good Girls” screened for the first time at Sundance at the Eccles Theatre in Park City on Tuesday, Jan. 22. The coming-of-age tale explores the dynamics of family and friendships as it tells the story of two best friends, Lilly (Fanning) and Gerry (Olsen) who, during their last summer before parting ways for college, learn some unexpected lessons about life, love and the true meaning of friendship.
The girls meet Brooklyn boy David (Holbrook), whom they both fall for, and Lilly soon begins a secret relationship with him. As Lilly’s home life falls apart after she discovers her father’s affair and Gerry becomes more obsessed with David, Lilly seeks solace in her first romance. However, a tragedy in Gerry’s family catapults Lilly back into reality, and she must face the consequences of her actions.
Foner has been a working screenwriter for more than 30 years, and this is her first film as a director. She received an Academy Award nomination, a Golden Globe, and a Pen West award for her screenplay for “Running on Empty” in 1988. Foner said she felt there are a lack of coming-of-age tales for young girls, and she loved working with the cast, particularly her two leads Fanning and Olsen, who she described as “really talented, incredibly gorgeous, inside and out, and incredibly smart.”
Fanning said she was friends with Olsen before they began filming, which helped her performance. “Elizabeth brings out a real honesty for me,” she said. “Because you never want to lie to people you’re close to, and part of acting is that you are trying not to lie the other actor.” When asked how girls should deal with pressure on them to be perfect, she said “Give it up- no-one will ever be perfect and as soon as you realize that, you can start living your life. ‘Very Good Girls’ is a story about doing the right thing all the time and that’s imposssible.”
Holbrook said he enjoyed spending last summer in New York filming the movie, and he learned a lot from his co-stars, who “are all so talented.”
He also said he appreciated how the music by Jenny Lewis really elevated the film. “She’s met the bar quite well and done a tremendous job,” he said. When asked if he’d had time to see any other films in the festival yet, or take a day on the slopes, he said he hadn’t because, “You don’t want to leave your baby,” meaning “Very Good Girls.”