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Meeting You, Meeting Me Depicts a Fragile Female Friendship

Photos: courtesy Tiger Narrative.

The unpredictability of romance has always been a key trope of dramatic—and comedic—cinema, those meet-cute moments, those cringe-inducing embarrassments, those fervent glances and exhilarating connections that make moviegoers swoon. But friendships can be equally compelling. They too have their share of awkwardness and exhilaration, especially when we find “our people,” those with whom we can share a mutual connection. Writer-director Lina Suh’s first feature, Meeting You, Meeting Me, an official selection of this year’s CAAM Fest, employs many of the narrative tropes of the romantic comedy to explore female friendship when two very different women’s chance encounter leads to something more profound, if yet altogether fragile.

Were it not for the fact that its two protagonists are not romantically linked to each other, Meeting You, Meeting Me‘s narrative might make for recognizable romantic comedy of sorts: the two leads, seemingly so unlikely on the surface, meet by chance, strike up a spark, enjoy each other’s company, are separated by misunderstanding, and must ultimately reconcile to reconnect—and to become more fully realized as individuals. But Meeting You, Meeting Me isn’t interested in pairing up its female leads romantically (except for brief pizza-boy booty-call); it’s far more interested in the lesser-explored territory of female friendship, one that is crucial to each protagonist’s growth—and, it might be worth saying, all too rarely explored in cinema.

Sure, anyone can name a few high-profile exceptions: 9 to 5, Thelma and Louise, The Joy Luck Club, Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, Steel Magnolias, Waiting to Exhale. Pitch Perfect, perhaps? Some films—not all that many—depict female friendship; fewer still explore it as their primary subject. And female representation is still, even after decades of Bechdel-Test analysis, lagging on the big screen. According to the most recent and longest-running study of gender representation in cinema, the percentage of females in speaking roles actually declined from 37% in 2022 to 35% in 2023; those with female protagonists, from 33% to 28%. Over three-fourths of films featured more male than female characters in speaking roles. Only 18% of films had more female than male characters. Keep in mind, these figures are generally significantly higher than they had been a generation ago.

Independent cinema, at least, can go its own way, and so Meeting You, Meeting Me does, focusing entirely on a friendship developing between two women at critical points in their lives. Savannah, or “Sav” as she is called through the film (Annika Foster), is a breezy, slightly flighty California girl, blond streaking her flowing locks, flitting through life with an easy confidence born of the privilege that comes with affluence and beauty. But she’s been dealt a series of setbacks that have challenged her confidence: she’s dropped out of school (to her parents’ chagrin), her boyfriend is unreliable, and—after an ill-tempered and worse-timed comment on a social media post—she’s been canceled online. As a consequence of just a single utterance, she’s had to shut down all of her social feeds. With what had been a significant part of her life now gone, Sav is more than just a little adrift.

Sav awkwardly greets some college friends.
Annika Foster (center) as Sav in Meeting You, Meeting Me. Photo: courtesy Tiger Narrative.

It’s on the eve of a sightseeing trip overseas that Sav meets Simone (Sam Yim) by chance: Simone is selling a backpack on Craigslist and it’s a bit better than the beat-down, torn-up model Sav was planning to take abroad. Simone practically seems Sav’s opposite: Simone is a bit older (at 33), educated (she’s a divorce attorney), a child of Korean immigrants, and a new homeowner just beginning to navigate her own post-divorce life. Where Sav is quick with a quip and confident in her conversation, Simone is far more quiet and measured, meting out her few words with a lawyer’s caution and deliberation.

Simone (Sam Yim) looks concerned.
Sam Yim as Simone in Meeting You, Meeting Me. Photo: courtesy Tiger Narrative.

Despite some cringeworthy moments in their conversation—mostly emanating from Simone’s reactions to Sav’s forwardness—the two strike up a bond and, as a consequence of some plot machinations, spend the day and evening together at Simone’s house as Sav awaits her flight. The two share fish soup (Simone’s family recipe), sob stories, a box of wine, a fire in the pit, and a few cannabis-induced edibles. With each passing hour and Sav’s encouragement, Simone opens up more and more to the point where Sav convinces her a quickie with the handsome pizza delivery boy/man (Patrick Luwis) is in order. And now. (He’s a college student and a flautist, so Sav speculates he may have some “special” talent).

It’s at this point, midway through the film, that the narrative gains some spark, in part because of the situation: mildly drunk and not a little high, straight-laced thirtysomething Simone is ready to give the pizza dude a big tip (if you know what I mean), while Sav busies herself elsewhere in the house, but still in earshot and a little too ready to eavesdrop. It’s a moment that sends the narrative in all kinds of different directions for both characters: suffice it to say that in the aftermath Sav’s life takes a sudden turn for the even-worse, while Simone’s is altered too, if in a very different way. But both of them are changed by the connection they’ve shared.

Suh’s script is structured as a flashback. We first meet Sav and Simone in an ambiguous present, apart from each other, Sav in the throes of partying and Simone in therapy. Their chance meeting and quick friendship took place three years earlier, but is clearly gone now. That structure prompts viewers to reflect on what might have happened that took them apart and kept them there, especially when in the film’s final act the two are brought within striking distance of reconnecting.

Simone (L) and Sav meet in a coffeeshop.
Sam Yim (L) and Annika Foster as Sav in Meeting You, Meeting Me. Photo: courtesy Tiger Narrative.

Meeting You, Meeting Me is driven less by its plot, though, than by its primary characters. Both are well-drawn, complex women with a set of interesting traits. Though each have and have had romantic relationships, neither is defined by them: rather, and somewhat refreshingly, both Sav and Simone come through as unique individuals. Simone comes to learn that her guarded caution can come across to others as an aloofness or disdain; Sav that her directness and openness often masks deep-seated insecurities. Both Sav in her 20s and Simone in her 30s are still in the process of become fully realized human beings whose personas are more than the mere sum of their romantic and career statuses.

It’s insights like those that Meeting You, Meeting Me manages best. If its plot might seem to work too hard to manipulate its two protagonists into a situation where they can meet, then bond, and then again to break them apart, the two characters themselves—and the friendship that emerges between them—are carefully drawn. Yim as the buttoned-up Simone and Foster as the freewheeling Sav are both excellent in their roles, and their characterization by contrast makes Meeting You, Meeting Me a detailed and delightful depiction of female friendship, one still all too rarely seen onscreen.

Written by J Paul Johnson

J Paul Johnson is Publisher of Film Obsessive. A professor emeritus of film studies and an avid cinephile, collector, and curator, his interests range from classical Hollywood melodrama and genre films to world and independent cinemas and documentary.

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