A coming of age movie for modern women that scores a win with the Bechdel test (the measure of the representation of fictional women talking about subjects other than a man).
There will always be skepticism when it comes to sequels, reboots and remakes and Gol & Gincu 2 directed by Umi Salwana Omar (of Oh My English, Songlap and Istanbul Aku Datang) is not exempted from criticism when it was first announced with a new cast and a whole new story relating more to the digital media-oriented generation. It begins with the introduction of Yaya (Ummi Nazeera) whose personality as a social media influencer is reflective of today’s celebrity status and how her rising popularity was received as annoyance by a student she met during a university orientation, Zak played by Diana Danielle.
Their clashing dispositions caused a conflict that led to both being imposed by the university’s dean with the duty of performing community service by aiding a safe house for troubled teens called 3R (we understood that reference) that was under the care and management of Jijie (Sharifah Amani). We then see the up and coming faces of actors like Iezahdiyana Alaudin, Tiara Anchant, Grace Ng, Aida Noris, Intan Serah, Nik Nasuhah and Annabel Michael in the role of young women with dark pasts yet they try to overcome through the friendship built in that very house.
The plot flows exceptionally well with the background of bubbles representing social media platforms like Instagram and Twitter whenever there is a need for exposition and the design of these invisible screens compliment the storyline and the “look” of the sequel that there was no risk of it being too messy. The palpable shortcoming was the cinematography of the film or the lack there of; there is a certain gloss that filtered the movie making it seems like it was merely a teledrama and the vibrant colours somehow diminished some emotions that were meant to exude empathy for some of the youths in the 3R house.
Ummi Nazeera gave a detailed performance, from the quivering of her lips while she cried to the minuscule mannerism of a woman uncomfortable with her surroundings and there is an apparent change that we can observe similar to leading characters in other coming of age movies when they encounter a transformation. Diana Danielle was not far behind as she portrays a student from a wealthy background but somehow nonchalant of her privileged upbringing when comparing herself to Yaya yet she also endured a conversion in her character while preparing to help the dwellers from being evicted from 3R.
The chemistry and humour of the whole casts were what drove charisma across the screen with memorable moments and quips from the supporting actors though at times, it felt as if the characters were only represented by the issues they faced like how Grace Ng’s character whose only notable feature was her Tourette’s syndrome and also from the scene where the characters expressed the troubles they faced at home (about the usage of drugs in blue-collar professions like lorry drivers and even the non-impactful discussion of children born out of wedlock that occurred off-screen).
Gol & Gincu 2 is still a breathtaking take as a reboot that takes the formula of movies regarding adulthood and enhanced it without any reference to love interests, an honourable detachment from the original movie and instigating a conversation on menstruation and societal issues and values. Although at times the diversity might be a little too glossed over, and not explored more deeply. I wish more attention was paid to the individual hardships of these women, and not make them orbit around the two main characters too much. I wanted to get to know more about Hanis, Gangster, and Cinonet. Maybe the problem of time and duration is a given, but it honestly holds the film back as a voice for a myriad of women struggles.
Don’t get me wrong, Gol & Gincu is still a good step in the right direction and definitely an improvement in a Malaysian cinema where women narratives are still severely lacking.
Gol & Gincu 2 is in cinemas now!
Featured Image source: Official poster for Gol & Gincu 2.