STREAM OR SKIP: In ‘The Girls At The Back’ on Netflix, five longtime friends go on an adventurous vacation after one of them is diagnosed with cancer

The theme of “friends as family” has been around forever, but recently we’ve seen shows taking friend hangouts to a new level and adding high stakes to their relationships. It’s health related and a new Netflix series from Spain is in that vein.

Opening shot: Five women are looking at themselves in the mirror, some anxiously running their hands through their hair. They all have their heads shaved.

yeast: The women shave their heads in unity before traveling from Madrid to Cadiz on vacation.
Monica Miranda), Carol (Maria Rodriguez Soto), Leo (Marionna Telles) and Olga (Goderif van den Brandt) have been friends since they sat in the back of the sixth grade classroom 25 years ago. One of them was diagnosed with cancer and was about to start chemotherapy, so the whole group decided to shave their heads.

We don’t know which women have cancer, and the five friends vowed never to talk about it or tell anyone they met who was sick. , get a luxury vacation home on Airbnb to forget reality. Before the trip, the women put slips of paper in boxes containing items on their “to do list.” When they pull the first slip-out at a highway rest stop, what’s on it sparks quite a bit of controversy.

All but Alma are heterosexual, and some, like Olga, seem ready to do it, while others, like Leo, are unwilling. Everyone thinks Alma is going easy, except for the fact that Alma is in a long-term relationship and wants to remain monogamous. They see a handsome man, but for some reason she tells Leo she doesn’t want to go first so he can see her. In both, we run into a man named John (Javier Rey) (he suggests). To appease Olga’s desire to connect with him and respect her work, he suggests a threesome.

Meanwhile, Carol hooks up with a single woman and goes to the single woman’s room for seemingly platonic reasons — until both realize a female friend gave her drink ecstasy and both took a sip of it. Leos connect with “double buggers” over both their lack of self-esteem. And Alma and Sarah recount, including a stubble-free kiss, when they helped Sarah realize that Alma likes women and not men.

The Girls at the Back
Photo: Julio Vergne/Netflix

what does that remind you of? If the theme of The Girls at the Back It sounds familiar, but that’s because the idea of ​​a longtime friend getting together when a woman has cancer is the theme of another recent Netflix series. another life.

Our opinion: The Girls at the Back (original title: Las de la Ultima FiraCreated by Daniel Sánchez Arévalo, this piece is about female friendship and how your true friends rally instead of running when you’re going through a difficult time in your life. What we enjoyed about the first episode was being able to see the chemistry between the five friends. Arévalo freely writes arguments and tiffs, just like people who have been friends for a long time. They love each other, but they seem like a group that evokes each other’s silliness, talks about each other, and has a relationship that most people would envy.

But the strongest aspect of the show, at least in the first episode, is that you never know who’s sick. Arévalo does not do this to create gimmicks or generate mysteries. I never watched the first episode to find any clues as to who the sick person was. We were grateful for the solidarity the women showed with each other and their attempts to uphold the “rules” of this trip.

That’s because the show isn’t about cancer patients, it’s about these five friends seizing the day and finding a shift in their perspective now that they’re in their 30s. hoping.

sex and skin: There is some brief and virtually topless in some scenes.

Farewell shot: Carol wakes up naked, leaves a voice text to her husband, and sees the bachelor come out of the bathroom, lamenting that the ecstasy she took “looses the gut.”

Sleeper Star: We love Mariona Telles as Leo.She seems to realize that to be attractive to people, you don’t have to be skinny like her friends…she thinks herself I just need to love you more.

The most pilot-like line: Alma tries to get a nervous Carol to embrace the adventure of a lesbian experience, bringing her face close enough for Carol to kiss her. “That’s important, isn’t it? It’s been hard for me,” Carol says happily. Little did she know what awaited her later that night.

Our call: streaming. The Girls at the Back It takes a fresh approach to a story we’ve seen a few times before and has an engaging cast with great chemistry.

Joel Keller (@joelkeller) writes about food, entertainment, parenting and technology, but he’s not kidding himself, he’s a TV addict. His writings have been published in The New York Times, Slate, Salon, RollingStone.com, Vanity Fair.comFast Company, etc.

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