Incredibly True Adventure of Two Girls in Love, The (1995)

Fine Line

Sundance Film Festival, Jan. 23, 1995– Maria Maggenti’s “The Incredible True Adventure of Two Girls in Love” is a charmingly naive, poignantly touching lesbian romantic fable that celebrates the sacredness of first love.

Scheduled for the summer, Fine Line release may have cross-over appeal and, given the universal appeal of its subject matter which goes beyond age and sexual orientation, may even serve as legit date movie for all youngsters.

The narrative surface of Incredible True Adventure is rather conventional, detailing the first love of two highschool seniors determined to stick together against all odds. But the overtly lesbian milieu is new, as is the protagonists’ young age, setting the film apart not only from traditional youth comedies but from twentysomething lesbian comedies like Go Fish as well.

Randy (Laurel Hollomon), a highschool senior, is a rebellious tomboy who lives with her lesbian aunt and her lover in a working- class neighborhood. Bored and unmotivated, she keeps a part-time job at her aunt’s gas station. One day, she spots Evie (Nicole Parker), a bright, rich, beautiful African-American classmate, who is one of the school’s most popular girls.

The two girls connect when Evie drives into the gas station to have her posh Ranger Rover checked. A few meaningful looks are exchanged–and Randy falls in love. Still involved with a man, Evie is certainly intrigued but also hesitant; the experience is totally foreign to her.

Unlike most Hollywood comedy-fables, in which the romance is glamorous, impossibly passionate, and abstract, the central liaison in Incredible True Adventure is simple, concrete–and always rings true. As it concerns teenagers exploring their sexuality, the language of romance has a different nuance here, one of tenderness and pain, qualities often lacking from American movie romances.

Most of the tale is devoted to Randy and Evie’s dates, recording in dead-on, serio-comic manner the embarrassing awkwardness and unbearable intensity of teenage love–holding hands, the first kiss, the first passionate intercourse, etc.

It may be an indication of our politically correct times, but not much is made of the interracial foundation of the bond–race is not an issue for the girls or for their friends. Prejudice against lesbians, however, is very much in evidence, as in a aching scene in a restaurant, where Evie’s friends leave her one by one.

Debutante scripter Maggenti has etched two beautifully-detailed portraits of women whose sexual identities are fluid enough to change. She also shows a dependable, sensitive ear for the kind of lingo spoken by teenagers when they’re in love.

Cluttering up the landscape, however, are subsidiary characters that are narrowly, almost grotesquely conceived, particularly Evie’s stuffy mother (Stephanie Berry), a severe career woman, and the voluptuous, Anita Ekberg-like, Vicky (Sabrina Artel), who punctuates the fable with outrageous costumes for comic relief.

Neophyte helmer still needs to acquire technical skills of camera placement, pacing, and framing. Tone of last sequence, set in a motel, with the girls locked inside and everybody else frantically waiting outside, is too farcical and schematic, without being funny. Nonetheless, Maggenti’s generous heart is always in the right place, which is what really matters.

Laurel Holloman and Nicole Parker, who are well-cast as the tomboy and beautiful girl respectively, give natural performances that are engaging without being truly compelling. Tech credits, by an all-female crew, are no more than adequate on what appears to be an extremely low-budgeted effort.

Dedicated to her first love, Incredible True Story is a personal film that will inevitably evoke nostalgic memories among viewers of all ages of their own pangs of the heart.

End Note

Made on a small budget of $100,000, the movie was commercially successful, grossing $2 million at the domestic box-office.