Adult friendships can be tough. Babes gets it.

In one of the first scenes of the new comedy Babes, the free-spirited Eden (Ilana Glazer) gets down on her knees to look at her best friend’s vagina. Pragmatic Dawn (Michelle Buteau) goes into labor, and Eden tries to gauge how far along she is to figure out whether they can stay for brunch, or if they should take Dawn to a hospital right away. It is immediately clear that director Pamela Adlon does not hold back when it comes to the coarser details of pregnancy and childbirth, and uses them optimally.

That scene also speaks to what the film actually is: an honest look at the pressures that adulthood puts on friendships, especially as life drags individuals along different journeys. Eden and Dawn’s relationship feels authentic: their bathroom routine updates, their entire conversation where all they say is “Bitch!” say. in several tones, Eden immediately volunteered to buy Dawn sushi for her first meal after birth. It made me nod and think Haha, that’s how I am with my best friends.

That also means that I thought about each other during their arguments Oh no, I have that feeling too. I never got mad because my friend showed it to my child The Omen, as Eden does with one of Dawn’s children, prompting him to write demonic symbols on his bedroom wall and scare off the new babysitter. But I do get frustrated when weekend plans with my friends don’t line up because one of us has a commitment that the other just doesn’t understand. Adlon keeps Dawn and Eden’s frustrations grounded (albeit with some hilarious, over-the-top incendiary incidents) so they never escalate to the point of destroying their friendship. That only makes their grievances resonate even more.

Image: Neon/Courtesy Everett Collection

Eden and Dawn have been best friends since childhood. Even though Dawn is a married mother of two and Eden is single and living her best, no-strings-attached life, they still make time for each other, even if it means Eden has to take a four-train trip through New York City if she wants Dawn meet for their honeymoon. annual Thanksgiving tradition of watching a movie in a theater.

When Eden becomes pregnant after a one-night stand, she decides to keep the baby, to everyone’s surprise. Dawn promises to support her. But Dawn has to juggle her own life, with her family, work and marriage, and she can’t always be there when Eden needs her. And Eden admittedly needs her all the time for appointments and other pregnancy-related matters, since she doesn’t have many other meaningful relationships in her life, especially with other parents. The tension brings out hidden frustrations; Eden doesn’t admit it at first, but she feels abandoned and betrayed that Dawn and her husband have moved to Manhattan, away from where she and Dawn grew up in Astoria, Queens.

As someone who recently moved to a different neighborhood than most of her friends, I felt that struggle so deeply. Instead of walking 10 minutes to meet up, my friends and I now have to find a midpoint, or else commute via a stupid number of trains. (Seriously, why doesn’t the M train connect Queens and Brooklyn?!) I’m happy with my move; it was the right decision for me and my partner. Likewise, Dawn moved because living in a beautiful brownstone that could accommodate her entire family was the right choice for them.

Dawn (Michelle Buteau) and Eden (Ilana Glazer) meet in front of a movie theater

Image: Neon/Courtesy Everett Collection

But eventually Eden admits that she is sad. Dawn never thought about her feelings when she made the move. At that moment, I was confronted with a fact I tried to ignore: I also didn’t think about how far away I would be from my best friends if I moved, nor did I think about the toll it would take on my life. relationships. I emphasized that the move made sense overall because it was what me and my partner wanted. Socially, we tend to accept that when moving, people will consult their spouses, immediate family and their jobs, and no one else. But with BabesAdlon comes right out and says it: Best friends get totally screwed in adulthood.

Sitcoms love Friends or How I met your mother have a very rosy view of how friendship works for people in their 20s and 30s, in which people’s lives revolve around a close-knit group of friends who somehow all have free schedules and live in the same neighborhood. But real adulthood is busy! And sometimes you have to take four trains on a holiday weekend to get to a convenient meeting place. Your priorities start to shift, and they may not match the priorities of your friends.

It’s a slow effort, but maybe a friend is starting a family so he or she can no longer afford the rent in New York City; maybe someone else has joined a club and their weekends are full of obligations; perhaps another insists on staying in Bushwick, despite living in a small apartment (but rent has stabilized!) and having outgrown the hip nightlife. Those frequent weekend hangouts are becoming increasingly scarce, a fact you try to ignore because you love your friends so much, but a fact that ultimately changes your relationship.

Dawn (Michelle Buteau) is having brunch

Image: Neon/Courtesy Everett Collection

Different than inside Bridesmaidswhere the tension escalates into a huge fight that ends the relationship, Adlon takes over Babes is that fighting with a best friend usually doesn’t mean cutting him or her out of your life completely. Even when Dawn and Eden fight – and their personal frustrations escalate into some pretty major outbursts – they never stop being friends or talking to each other. When friends argue in movies, it usually involves a big, dramatic declaration that the friendship is over, sometimes accompanied by an angsty life-without-each-other montage to really show that they’re not talking. But in BabesEven after some arguing, Dawn and Eden still hang out and are still friends.

BabesIts take on friendships in adulthood isn’t idyllic, but it isn’t over-dramatic either, in a way that could easily be dismissed as heightened, unreal film fiction. Having an argument with a friend that only resolves as you stay in each other’s lives feels much more real, especially when that argument is built on beautifully realized tension where neither party is. wrong Exactly, but neither is right either. In the core, Babes is a love story between Eden and Dawn, two best friends who struggle to keep their friendship strong as adulthood threatens to tear them apart. Adlon never makes us doubt that these women mean a lot to each other.

It’s telling that this film never culminates in Eden finding romance as a way to repair her relationship with Dawn. Dawn is married and her husband is very supportive, but Eden doesn’t magically find a similar partner who shows her the importance of family, or who treats her friendship with Dawn as a secondary consideration. A lesser movie might make Eden realize that her new baby and possible new boyfriend are now her priorities, and tell Dawn that she finally understands where Dawn is coming from. Instead, Adlon declares that friendships are just as important as family.

Society continually prioritizes romantic relationships and the nuclear family over friendships, which we see time and time again in the media. So it’s immensely satisfying to see a film celebrate the importance of adult friendship, and allow both friends to gain a new, realistic understanding of how their relationship has evolved – but not disintegrated. It’s an important perspective on friendship—one that’s often overlooked in a youth-oriented cultural landscape, but one that speaks to something that many of us have experienced in one form or another, or will eventually experience, sooner than we would like.

Babes debuts in theaters on May 17.