A young woman is confronted by her first taste of mortality when she loses her childhood friend. That simple and familiar human story is the beating heart of Caroline von Kuhn’s film, Like The Water. Unlike other films that add another voice to this universal narrative of loss, there is something subtly different about this movie.
For example, the young woman who we follow through the story runs into a young man, clearly an old boyfriend, only a few scenes into the film. Surely, this will be the man who helps her rediscover the self she ran away from when she fled from home. Wrong. Our young hero gives him a look that communicates something akin to, “You’re still here. Right where I left you. Look at how little you’ve grown.”
She cordially excuses herself and returns to her circle of female friends, and the rest of the film focuses on the protagonist’s struggle to write a eulogy for the one they lost. She has to write it, of course. She’s the writer.
So she visits familiar places with her notebook, trying to write. She encounters familiar faces who share the story of that place in dialogue. This dialogue strikes the tone of old friendship, offering a familiar warmth. Every actor shines in their role, and the film does not end with anyone falling in love or getting laid.
The women in the film talk to each other about good times they’ve had. They battle over old grudges and remember how much they loved each other before adulthood drove them a little mad. And none of their stories, ever, gravitate around a man or the pursuit of men.
That is because this film was made by women, designed specifically to pass The Bechdel test with flying colors. What is the Bechdel test? I’ll let Wikipedia answer.
“The Bechdel test asks whether a work of fiction features at least two women who talk to each other about something other than a man.”
Like the Water not only passes this test, the film highlights how comfortable we’ve become with Hollywood films that fail it miserably. Watch it on Seed&Spark today and adjust your movie perspective.