Issue 12  •  Spring 2013

32A

Written by Liz Nadybal

Growing up is never easy, as countless movies have taught us. 32A reinforces the same lesson, but this time with cute, plucky Irish girls attending Catholic school in 1979 Dublin. The film opens with Maeve, the heroine, trying on her first bra and entering womanhood. Her three friends, Ruth, Claire, and Orla, already wear bras and have had boyfriends. Since Maeve is the only friend who hasn’t been kissed, the girls offer her kissing lessons, not expecting her to snag any boys. Much to their surprise, she catches the attention of the town heartthrob and heartbreaker, Brian.

Growing up is never easy, as countless movies have taught us. 32A reinforces the same lesson, but this time  with cute, plucky Irish girls attending Catholic school in 1979 Dublin. The film opens with Maeve, the heroine, trying on her first bra and entering womanhood. Her three friends, Ruth, Claire, and Orla, already wear bras and have had boyfriends. Since Maeve is the only friend who hasn’t been kissed, the girls offer her kissing lessons, not expecting her to snag any boys. Much to their surprise, she catches the attention of the town heartthrob and heartbreaker, Brian.

The title, a clever wordplay, signifies both the bra size and the city bus route number that the girls ride. When Ruth discovers her absent father wants to meet in the city, Maeve is all too quick to suggest that the three others go and support her. When the day comes, Maeve instead chooses to go to the town dance with Brian and ditches her friends in a time of need. Perhaps not the brightest decision, Maeve suffers the consequences of sneaking out, lying, and breaking promises. Fortunately, things begin to look up, especially at Maeve’s surprise birthday party.

This is director and writer Marian Quinn’s first feature, and boy did she choose the perfect Maeve. Ailish McCarthy bears an eerily similar resemblance to Alexis Bleidel but possesses the ideal quietness that Bleidel’s Rory Gilmore lacked. Unfortunately, while she fared well with casting choices, Quinn just didn’t do as well with the storyline. It’s cute and relevant but doesn’t present anything new. Many coming-of-age films in a similar vein—The Sandlot, or Now and Then, for example—have done just as well as, if not better than, 32A.

But still, even if 32A only reiterates what we’ve already learned, the story is ultimately relatable. Whether you are fourteen or forty, you will remember the time you snuck out at night or mistakenly chose the cute boy over your friends. If nothing else, it will make you wistful for your teenage years. 

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