Wingwomen (2023)

Wingwomen (2023)

Netflix strikes gold with this breezy yet touching French spin on Charlie’s Angels

7.9

Movie

France
French
Action, Comedy, Drama
2023
FEMALE DIRECTOR, MÉLANIE LAURENT
Adèle Exarchopoulos, Camille Verschuere, Felix Moati
114 min

TLDR

Fewer movies like Red Notice and more like Wingwomen, please, Netflix.

What it's about

Desperate to cut loose from their domineering boss (Isabelle Adjani), professional thieves Carole (Mélanie Laurent) and Alex (Adèle Exarchopoulos) hire rookie F1 driver Sam (Manon Bresch) and embark on one final heist.

The take

An all-female action comedy that doesn’t get self-serious about the way it’s subverting the genre — Wingwomen feels like a breath of fresh air. It wisely grasps that plot isn’t paramount for a movie like this, and so it joyously dunks on cerebral scenarios with its unabashedly silly story convolutions, like when its professional thieves take a brief pause from their momentous One Last Job™️ to sail to Italy and exact bloody, flamenco-delivered revenge on the gangsters who killed their beloved rabbit. Exotic Mediterranean location-hopping isn’t the only way Wingwomen milks Netflix’s finance department for all it can get, either: director-star Mélanie Laurent also packs in all manner of stunts, from spectacular base-jumping sequences to dramatic drone shootouts. 

For all its breezy style, though, there is real heart here, and not the kind that feels crafted by an algorithm. It’s true that a late twist unwisely uses the movie’s embrace of implausibility for emotional ends, but otherwise, the relationship between its professional thieves — ostensibly platonic but very much coded otherwise (a la Bend It Like Beckham) — has surprisingly sincere warmth. Thanks to the cast’s natural chemistry and characters that feel human despite the ridiculous plot, Wingwomen is much more moving than you might believe possible for a Netflix action-comedy.

What stands out

The magnetic charm of Laurent and Exarchopoulos (who play the movie’s two main criminals, before Manon Bresch’s F1 driver joins their team). As is entirely unexpected given the caliber of her work elsewhere, Exarchopoulos is a particular standout: here, it’s because of how well she delivers on the movie’s action-comedy credentials as Alex, a sniper who shoots out pithy one-liners as confidently as she does bullets. But teamed up with Laurent (who plays her colleague and platonic soulmate of sorts), Exarchopoulos also shares responsibility for Wingwomen's blazing heart, which gives it surprising (for a Netflix original) replay value as a satisfying comfort watch.

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