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The Incredibly True Adventure of Two Girls in Love

By Richard von Busack

Randy Dean (Laura Holloman)--gas-station attendant, aspiring rock musician and potential high school drop-out--gets a surprise one afternoon when a beautiful, helpless girl turns up in a Range Rover. The results in Maria Maggenti's new film are obvious from the title: The Incredibly True Adventure of Two Girls in Love.  This ingenious and amusing movie offers a fresh twist on the troubles of 17-going-on-18 love.

Holloman is a fresh-faced young performer who looks pleasingly like a cross between Mary-Louise Parker and Michael J. Fox. She conveys unlettered intelligence as Randy, and one of the movie's plusses is that Randy isn't a portrait of the artist as a young woman. She's not building up for her future but is living--like every 17-year-old--in a constant "now" full of possibilities. Thus we feel the accurately recorded tensions of the stations of first love: the passing of notes, the initial kiss, the negotiation of a sleep-over weekend (bought at a fearful price).

The romance is about dilemma instead of tragedy. The lesbian characters are free to be mean, lecherous, sloppy and half in (though mostly on the way out of) relations with men. They're well-rounded characters, not inspirational silhouettes. The romance crosses not only gender but racial and class lines as well. The love object, Evie (Nicole Parker), is the soon-to-be Ivy League, upper-class African American daughter of a woman who smothers her with affection. (I appreciated this point because I myself was involved with a woman of color whose good family, education and solid religious faith--even whose proper pronunciation of the word "aunt," just as Parker says the word--all served as a gentle reminder of what a white mutt I am.)

The Incredibly True Adventure of Two Girls in Love  is free from melodrama. The girls aren't crucified for their love, which is a relief. The confrontations with the straights are almost background noise (except for a stranger howling "Dyke!" from a car). One teenage girl's murmured judgment, "I think you're under a spell or something," is about as direct as it gets. The world's idiot rage is kept down to a dull roar, which is raised, only slightly, at the film's touching final moment. It's a sweet movie, low-key, delightful and summery. I liked it better than almost anything I've seen all year. I certainly liked it better than any romance I've seen all year.

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