‘Very Good Girls’ is another in a long line of generic coming-of-age films about two friends who make a pact to lose their virginity before they start college. Lily (Dakota Fanning) and Gerri (Elizabeth Olsen) see themselves as a pair of goody goodies, an image that they decide to rid themselves of. In order to do so they delve into their respective darker sides, and jump head first into a series of bad boys and bad decisions. Their summer project quickly slams to a halt as a series of unexpected and turbulent consequences threaten to end their life long friendship.
The film does have a lot going for it. Both Fanning and Olsen give good performances, and the subject matter feels realistic in a way that similar films do not. The trouble is that there are so many other films just like this one, and that the entire time you’re watching it feels like you’ve seen this all before. Sometimes a feeling of familiarity is a good thing, but in this case it is more of an “I’ve already seen this, I don’t need to watch it again” kind of familiar. It is by no means a bad film. It may even be a good film, but it is an unnecessary film.
For some reason it tends to focus an inordinate amount of time on the relationship between each girl and their parents. This is likely to explore how each girl became the way they are, however this ends up seeming superfluous as the scenes away from the parents offer more than enough background to give viewers insight into where each girl is coming from. If this was meant to feature as a secondary plot for the film then it largely fails, as it just seems underdeveloped and unsatisfying.
People who aren’t bothered by the borrowed or generic nature of the plot will find something to enjoy in ‘Very Good Girls.’ Others would do better to track down one of the more classic versions of this tale.