1. Animals (2019)
“Sooner or later the party has to end.” This is the warning the fun-loving best friends Tyler (Alia Shawkat) and Laura (Holliday Grainger) fail to heed in Animals, spending wine-soaked evenings crashing through the streets of Dublin, grinding up painkillers into their cocktails and scrawling their phone number onto prospective conquests in lip liner. The girls’ cocaine-fuelled hedonism comes to a halt when Laura starts getting serious with Jim (Fra Fee) and her priorities shift from companionship to romance. People choosing their partners over their friends is nothing new, but what separates this film from the flourishing women-behaving-badly subgenre is that Tyler and Laura are everything to each other. In turn, they act as mothers (sponge-bathing off traces of vomit after a heavy night), lovers (spooning together in bed) and sisters (accepting invitations to family events). They also communicate with an openness that is more commonly shown on television (think Girls, Broad City), checking each other’s urine for hydration levels and giving practical demonstrations of how they style their pubic hair. Although Laura’s involvement with Jim puts the friends’ different brands of feminism at loggerheads (depicted in a cataclysmic showdown in a wedding-dress fitting-room), Animals ultimately celebrates the messiness of balancing relationships in your thirties, a transitional period all too often eclipsed by the experience of twenty-somethings in popular culture.