Romy and Michele, are They a Reflection of Our Own High School Anxieties?
Two girl with a very profound message
Dance Hall Days.
For many the popular 1997 movie, Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion, stirs up many memories. Some of these memories are sweet, while other memories can be rather painful. Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion, is one of those movies that most everyone can relate to. Everyone that has ever been to high school in the United States, has been categorized by their piers to one extent or another. I for one, hated high school and often compared it with hell. I’m sure, I’m not alone on this one. There is even one part of the movie, that takes place during the reunion, where Heather, Romy and Michele talk about how everyone’s life was made a hell by one of the more popular cliques. The conversation goes as follows:
Heather: Wow, all
that time you guys were making my life hell, the A group was doing the same
thing to you! I had no idea!
Michele: You know? I bet in high school, everybody made somebody's life hell.
Heather: Nope, sorry, never had the opportunity.
Michele: I bet that's not true...
Heather: You think?
Michele: Oh, yeah, you were really unpleasant.
Romy and Michele's High School Reunion is a comical, and yet, very realistic in its portrayal of high school life. The movie begins with Romy White ( Played by Mira Sorvino) and Michele Weinberger ( Played by Lisa Kudrow), who are two single girls, that are room mates, and who left their former existence in Tucson, Arizona and have been residing in Venice Beach, California for the past ten years. One day at her job in the Jaguar repair shop, Romy meets up with Heather Mooney (Played by Janeane Garafalo), a wealthy,very snide young woman, with a surly demeanor, from their high school in Tucson, and discovers that their high school is having their ten year reunion. Desperate to make an impression, they both go on a mission to find boyfriends. Michele has the difficult task of finding a suitable employment. Since such an undertaking, is in many ways impossible, they decide to fake till they make it.
Dressed in black business women’s attire, they head of to Tucson, in a car that Romy borrowed from Ramon, after some interesting bargaining. During their road trip the two girls have a falling out, in regards to some of their personal insecurities. After their argument, Michele falls asleep in the car on the way to Tucson. In a dream, she realizes how much her friendship with Romy means to her. They arrive at the reunion, and find that things have not change that much since their high school days. Despite their best efforts, to impress the A group with their made up success story, they’re unmasked by Heather, who knew who invented post its. They are ridiculed by almost all the members of the A group and everyone laughs at them. Romy is heart broken, and in tears, because after all her trouble, she still plays the fool. Michele sets her straight, and their friendship is strengthened. They get out of their business women’s attire, and decide to dress in way that truly expresses who they really are. They even have the confidence to tell the A group what they really feel.
It turns out that Lisa Ludor, (Played by Elaine Hendrix) has long left the A group, and is now the assistant editor for Vogue Magazine . Lisa not only tells the A group her honest opinion regarding their closed minded ways, but also give her hearty approval of Romy and Michele’s dresses. She tells Christie the following in regards to Romy and Michele’s outfit choices: "They've got nice lines, a fun frisky use of color. All in all, I’d have to say they’re really not bad" Now that they even have the approval of the assistant editor of Vogue Magazine, Romy and Michele's status suddenly goes from zeros to heroes. Their ride to success does not end there. Sandi Frink (played by Alan Cumming), who still has strong feelings for Michelle, comes to the reunion. He is rich, successful, and dressed to kill. Sandi arrives and a helicopter and his entrance is so spectacular, that even Chrity Masters (Played by Julia Campbell) flirts with Sandi, who only has eyes for Michele. Sandi, who is standing in front of Michele, with his boyish smile, and is still under her spell, confesses that despite his many successes, he still doesn’t have one thing. Michele asks him what that could be, his own country? Sandi simply tells her that no matter how much he has accumulated, he still doesn’t have her. He then asked her for something she denied him ten year earlier, a dance. To which Michele agrees on one condition, if Romy could also share the spotlight with them.
During their cute and hilarious dance, Heather, who had strong feelings for Sandi finally gets over him, and finds herself a cowboy. The movie has one of your Hollywood endings, Christy and Billy get what they deserve, Sandi lends Romy and Michele money to finance their dream of owning a fashion boutique, and Heather is finally happy, in her own surly way of course.
Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion reflects greatly on the insecurities most people felt in high school. It does an incredible job of exposing the different types of cliques, that make up high school life. It is a great portrayal of your typical high school environment, that normally consists of the popular group, which is typically composed of cheer leaders and football players. There is also a mention of the other groups that are part of high school life, groups such as the drama club, science club, and those who consider themselves loners. In high school, most all of us needed to fit in with one group or another. To a certain degree many people based their self esteems, as well as their identities, on the group they were part of. Romy and Michele symbolizes the underdog in all of us. During the reunion Heather tells Michele that she never had the opportunity to get the respect she would have like to have had. Michelle answers her with one simple answer “You know, I bet in high school, everybody made somebody's life hell.” There you have it, during our high school years we were all fragile to one degree or another.
Sometimes even comedies have deep meaning. Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion does go to the heart of many of the issues that are prevalent in almost every high school environment, such issues as popularity, status quo, unrequited love, and how you are viewed through the eyes of your piers. I would recommend this movie to anyone, who fancies a good laugh, and wants to take a stroll down memory lane.
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