Uptown Girls is a 2003 American comedy/drama film. The plot basically follows two girls: the casual, freewheeling 21-year-old Molly; and her complete opposite, the nine-year-old Lorraine. The tagline of the film is that the two 'teach each other how to act their age'1. The film is set in New York. It was directed by Boaz Yakin and filmed on location in New York in 2002. The original working title was Molly Gunn.
The character of Molly Gunn (played by Brittany Murphy) sadly does not seem to have much substance. She is the daughter of a rock star, but her parents died in an accident when she was young. She has lived off their inheritance, having a wonderful life until the age of 22, when all the money is stolen from her. She is therefore forced to get a job and start living in the real world, something she has a lot of trouble doing. Molly is attractive, fickle and sarcastic.
Ray (played by Dakota Fanning) was probably designed to be amusing. She is highly disciplined, extremely organised, paranoid about germs and usually unemotional. She has an ill father she refers to in the past tense and as a 'vegetable' and a mother who tends to neglect her emotionally (but provides a lot of money, a chauffer and a good education). At first her character may seem like a completely weird unrealistic girl, but her strict behaviour is simply her way of expressing (and hiding) grief. Rather than teaching Ray how to act her age, Molly teaches her to express her grief in the more 'normal' ways of sorrow and anger. Ray loves ballet dancing and listens to Mozart's Requiem as she has afternoon tea.
Neal (played by Australian actor Jesse Spencer) is an aspiring singer-songwriter. He performs at Molly's birthday party, and she immediately falls in love with him and wants to take him home. Just when she gets fed up and plans to get rid of Neal, however, Neal bids her farewell, leaving her incredibly upset. Molly is surprised when she finds out later that, inadvertantly, she has helped Neal's career take off. Two songs sung by Neal are heard in the film and on the soundtrack (sung by Jesse Spencer): 'Molly Smiles' and 'Sheets of Egyptian Cotton'.
The story begins with Molly having a birthday party. In the bathroom she meets Ray, who is grudgingly attending the party with her mother, a music manager. Molly and Ray immediately do not get on, as Molly mocks Ray's use of her own personal soap and towel in the bathroom, and Ray criticises Molly in every way she can.
Shortly afterwards, when Molly finds out her inheritance has been stolen and she needs to work for a living, the only job she is able to take is as a nanny for Ray. Neither of the two are pleased with this situation and they persistently irritate each other.
The film shows how the two gradually form a relationship and how their personalities change, partly as a result of Ray's family life undergoing some difficult changes.
Most of the film's reviews were fairly mediocre, although the two actors were fairly positively reviewed. Uptown Girls was not nominated for any awards, although it significantly helped the careers of Dakota Fanning and Jesse Spencer.