The Girls at the Back review a moving friendship drama

The Girls at the Back review a moving friendship drama ...

The Girls at the Back on Netflix is unspoiler-free.

The Girls at the Back, a moving transformation of the girls' trip formula – seen in films like, well, Girl's Trip – places the burden on genuine friendships beneath the looming threat of loss and change.

Five friends in their 30s have come together for a holiday, which isn't an unusual premise. The hook here is that one of them has been diagnosed with cancer (this is an overarching mystery), and that the duration of the trip involves fulfilling a series of wishes, which they would normally do out of fear or shame. So, with their heads shaved in solidarity, and another made to ensure that everyone leaves their comfort zone, we embark on a six-episode journey.

The Girls at the Back is funny, but it isn't a comedy, which quickly proves to be its greatest strength. The girls' agreement to avoid the topic means that the program can't rely on being openly manipulative to get the desired outcome. Instead, the emotional payoffs are earned through us getting to know each of them and being reminded that one of them is to die.

I was both moved and surprised by this slew of emotions and tones. It's new territory for such a familiar premise, and it works beautifully because the personalities of the four friends – Carol (Maria Rodrguez Soto), Olga (Godeliv Van den Brandt), Sara (Ell), Alma (Monica Miranda) and Leo (Mariona Terés) – are well-defined, and their dynamic feels real. They are forced to make judgments and set pieces

The Girls at the Back is sad, but it isn't morbid. On the contrary, it's a stirring portrait of the bonds and the fragility of existence, as well as a powerful reminder that we should live as hard as we can for as long as it lasts.

The Girls at the Back is available exclusively on Netflix.

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