Women & Wine is a short film directed by Liv Karin Dahlstrom and it takes place during a birthday celebration amongst old friends. The film raises attention to the tension that grows in friendships over time. Little problems can build to become scenes of embarrassment and betrayal. Resentments can extinguish the selfless love between good friends and put into play actions that will hurt a friend.
Turid has expectations for this celebration and for Grete’s reaction to her surprise party. Throughout the film, her expectations are crushed by reality. Grete doesn’t notice who Turid is inside the car and it’s clear that this inability to identify a friend is a bigger problem. The issue is that Turid feels irrelevant to her old friend’s life. She is questioning her importance as a friend and whether Grete actually cares as much as she does. This insecurity in a long friendship is something that happens in life all the time. I think it comes from not spending as much time with someone as you used to, but more importantly it comes from a lack of proper communication. Talking to someone and having a meaningful, deep conversation are two different things.
One of my favorite parts of the movie is when the ladies are just dancing in their own special, awkward fashion. The way they move and how Turid puts her arm around Grete is telling of the comfort that is built off of years of knowing each other. They sing along to the music so passionately and unapologetically. They have never looked more alive and I found it refreshing to not see any kids or husbands telling them to stop embarrassing themselves. This scene of bliss belonged to them and their friendship.
Another thing that was apparent in the film was trying to prove worth as a friend. Sometimes, we want to please and honor the ones we love so badly that we end up excluding ourselves from sharing in a moment of happiness with them. For example, when Turid arrives to the scene of the party, she cannot enjoy the celebration with Grete because she is fretting about all the little details that are wrong about the event she had planned so carefully. She says “But it means a lot to me.” Her friend actually responds with “Just look at me.” That conversation expresses how Turid cannot even see what she is missing because she is trying so hard to preserve and perfect the moment. When we try to hold onto people too hard, we end up passing straight through them. We push them further away.
One of the elements of this film that I adored was that it was a film featuring so many older women and yet the storyline did not revolve around their gender roles. There were no kids or husbands or boyfriends that popped up on the screen. They didn’t have to play the mother, wife, grandmother…etc. In Hollywood, these are the limitative roles that get placed on women as they age. How often does an older women get to be the protagonist in a narrative without having her gender roles be a significant factor in the direction of the story? I haven’t seen it happen often unless they’re big names like Meryl Streep. So, it was refreshing to have a story about older women and find that I could relate to it right now in my life.
This story at its core was about friendship and loss and those are universal themes. It’s about old friendships and how a fear lingers over what your worth is to your friend? Do they care as much as you care? Have they already replaced you? And are you holding onto something that is already lost?
My favorite part of the film was towards the end when Turid and Grete have a confrontation. There is no holding back from the emotion here and I think that is why it’s the more powerful part of the movie. Turid finally tells Grete how she feels and the resentment toward Signe is revealed. Grete defends Signe though and only lashes out at Turid for sharing personal information. While neither of these women are wrong, both of their arguments fail to bridge the gap between them. Turid’s feelings of not being appreciated enough as a friend only grow throughout the movie. She realizes in the end that she does have a special place because Grete told her something she could not confess to anyone else. Yet, that still isn’t enough to put the shattered pieces of their trust back together. Expectations in a friendship can blind our eyes from seeing and feeling the true beauty of being present in that friendship.