Big Girls Don’t Cry (2002)

“You’ll end up in the gutter if you keep this up.”

I am not, generally speaking, a fan of teen films. There are a few exceptions, and this excellent coming-of-age tale Big Girls Don’t Cry (GroBe Madchen Weinen Nicht)is a good example of a teen film that should appeal to all ages. Excellent acting, and a good script combined with a great soundtrack elevate this film far above the usual teen angst drama. The film isn’t about such superficial issues as who is going to the prom; it’s much more substantial than that. Set in modern Germany, the film explores the relationship between two sixteen-year-old girls, Steffi (Karoline Herfurth) and Kati (Anna Marie Muhe). Friends since childhood, the girls are inseparable, but when Steffi discovers that her father has a mistress, aspects of her character drive a wedge in her relationship with Kati.

On the surface, Steffi appears to have the better home life, but this is just a facade, and just how far she’ll go to keep what she’s got is one of the central points of the film. Big Girls Don’t Cry covers many of the same issues as other teen films–sex, parties, curfews, and the struggle for independence as the teenage subjects venture into the adult world. But what makes this film exceptional is that it tackles far bigger issues and asks the question: do friendship and loyalty override all other moral values? Directed by Maria von Heland, the film is in German with English subtitles.

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