More in-depth film festival coverage than any other website!
Home Reviews  Articles  Release Dates Coming Soon  DVD  Top 20s Criticwatch  Search
Public Forums  Festival Coverage  Contests About 

Overall Rating

Awesome: 8.89%
Worth A Look: 15.56%
Pretty Bad: 20%
Total Crap: 4.44%

4 reviews, 21 user ratings

Latest Reviews

Portrait of a Lady on Fire by Peter Sobczynski

Long Walk, The (2019) by Jay Seaver

Ride Your Wave by Jay Seaver

Enter the Fat Dragon (2020) by Jay Seaver

Sea Fever by Jay Seaver

Synchronic by Jay Seaver

Downhill by Peter Sobczynski

Man Standing Next, The by Jay Seaver

Dustwalker, The by Jay Seaver

Proxima by Jay Seaver

subscribe to this feed

Banger Sisters, The
[] Buy posters from this movie
by Stephen Groenewegen

"Groupie hugs"
3 stars

Suzette (Goldie Hawn) haunts the Whisky-a-go-go rock club on LA’s Sunset Strip like a resident ghost.

She became a groupie in the late 1960s, and she clings to the memories of her wild, partying youth like a security blanket. Like the rock gods and music of old that she still worships, Suzette is anachronistic to the modern club scene. Blissfully unaware of this simple truth until she’s fired, Suzette hops into her relic of a car and heads east to Phoenix. She plans to hook up with former fellow groupie Vinnie (Susan Sarandon), and borrow some money. In their early 1970s heyday, Vinnie and Suzette were such an unstoppable combination that Frank Zappa christened them “the Banger sisters”.

En route, Suzette picks up a writer named Harry (Geoffrey Rush). He blames his failed screenwriting career on an overbearing father, and he’s travelling home to Phoenix to kill him. Trouble is, Harry cultivates a “carefully delineated” lifestyle, with a fastidiousness that borders on the obsessive-compulsive. He wears a puffy sleeveless vest to shield him from the outside world and seems incapable of the lowliest violence, let alone murder.

Suzette drops Harry off at a hotel, but is in for a rude surprise when she arrives at her friend’s place. “Vinnie” is now the prim Lavinia Kingsley, resident queen of a beautifully manicured upper middle class home and attendant on a lawyer husband and two teenage daughters. Ginger (Eva Amurri, Sarandon’s daughter in reality) is shockingly spoilt; Hannah (Erika Christensen) is on the eve of her high school graduation and itching to rebel against her strict mother.

Suzette ultimately helps Lavinia loosen up, and supplies Hannah with a stream of homilies for her valedictorian graduation-speech, along the lines of “be true to you” and “don’t be afraid to fail”. The message is that you should embrace your past as a part of who you are now. That Suzette takes this to an extreme seems to have escaped writer-director Bob Dolman (writer-producer of Ron Howard’s Far and Away, making his directorial debut). He seems happy to have Suzette living her life stuck in the past, being too true to her old self to let go and move on.

The only way to play a character like Suzette is to make her a force of nature, and Goldie Hawn does just that. In her singlets and sunglasses, towering heels and tight jeans, Suzette doesn’t walk - she wiggles. As one of the daughters describes her, she’s plain “permissive looking”. The uptight Lavinia, by contrast, wears a wardrobe of beige. Waiting to pick up Ginger from her driving test, it dawns on her that she’s the same colour as the Department of Motor Vehicles.

The picture wouldn’t work as well with the roles reversed, though Sarandon played a less extreme version of Suzette in Bull Durham. Hawn’s personality and goofy smile are crucial to her appeal, and it would’ve been a drag watching her as Lavinia. Sarandon’s brittleness makes Lavinia compelling, even though the character is so obviously straight jacketed. When Lavinia finally becomes Vinnie again, and hits the town with Suzette, Sarandon’s joy in her character’s liberation makes it almost like a Thelma and Louise reunion.

Unfortunately, The Banger Sisters is less and less interesting the longer it goes. Geoffrey Rush is enjoyably unpredictable as Harry, but his subplot is regrettably sidelined once Lavinia’s kids arrive on the scene. This is the kind of film where you know the outcome before you go in. I didn’t mind the inevitability so much as the steady decline into inspirational mush the closer we got to Hannah’s graduation. Suzette’s visit exposes some serious ruptures in the Kingsley family, but Dolman’s colour-by-numbers finale blandly and unconvincingly smoothes over them. So long as there’s a group hug at the end, everything must be fine, right?

It’s hard to believe Lavinia’s family won’t revert to their discontented state as soon as Suzette’s left the scene. It makes the platitudes in Hannah’s graduation speech, which carry the moral of the movie, that much harder to swallow.

link directly to this review at
originally posted: 11/14/02 13:54:49
[printer] printer-friendly format  

User Comments

7/12/09 art A TIME KILLER! 3 stars
6/18/09 the dork knight Goldie Hawn pwns. 4 stars
8/18/05 ES seriously this wasn't a porno? huh, well then I guess it sucked 1 stars
12/30/04 Ariadne Christina Renee Gladstone I'm presently shitting myself on admitting that I liked a Susan Sirhandon movie! 4 stars
12/02/04 lucas awesome 5 stars
5/25/04 Jade I loved this movie! It was awesome, it's a good movie to watch with your mom.hilarious film 5 stars
5/07/04 Ross Two old cows, not funny, not interesting. I cringed at sarran's bottom 1 stars
10/02/03 Mopsa Quite funny, but remains average 3 stars
8/31/03 Ashleigh Bevier This movie was great! 5 stars
5/20/03 your worse goddamn nightmare I saw this with a chick who got her hootch pierced! Flick gets points for that! 4 stars
4/17/03 Andrew Carden Goldie Hawn Is Fantastic, Sarandon Is Wasted...Film Is Average. 3 stars
4/17/03 Shadaan Felfeli or "What a good cast can do for a substandard film." 3 stars
4/08/03 Mystique I just say Geoffrey Rush ! :-) 4 stars
3/21/03 soelen i liked it, Goldie Hawn is still fucking hot,even though she is old. great chick flick 5 stars
2/15/03 Ashley Corpening Good, but I hoped Hannah really would fart at graduation. 4 stars
12/04/02 Ariadne Christina Renee Gladstone I'm presently shitting myself on having to admit I liked a Susan Sirhandon movie. 4 stars
11/07/02 The Quirkfetch Kid But better certainly doesn't deserve them! 2 stars
9/28/02 Suzz hawn and sarandon deserve better 3 stars
9/24/02 poetchuck Entertaining, romp 4 stars
9/18/02 Mortis Too many close ups,its like VH1 meets a Highway to Heaven episode. 2 stars
Note: Duplicate, 'planted,' or other obviously improper comments
will be deleted at our discretion. So don't bother posting 'em. Thanks!
Your Name:
Your Comments:
Your Location: (state/province/country)
Your Rating:

Discuss this movie in our forum

  20-Sep-2002 (R)



Directed by
  Bob Dolman

Written by
  Bob Dolman

  Susan Sarandon
  Goldie Hawn
  Geoffrey Rush
  Eva Amurri
  Erika Christensen
  Matthew Carey

Home Reviews  Articles  Release Dates Coming Soon  DVD  Top 20s Criticwatch  Search
Public Forums  Festival Coverage  Contests About Australia's Largest Movie Review Database.
Privacy Policy | HBS Inc. | |   

All data and site design copyright 1997-2017, HBS Entertainment, Inc.
Search for
reviews features movie title writer/director/cast