‘Big Girls Don’t Cry’ Review: An Emotional Rollercoaster That Just Misses the Mark


Set in a fictional boarding school, Big Girls Don’t Cry or BGDC (which I took 500 years to realize is the same thing, whoops), tells the story of 7 odd high schoolers who are trying to find their voice in a world ready to botch their ideas the second they come up with them. Created by women and starring women and young girls, Big Girls Don’t Cry is an ambitious project that brings back memories of high school and what used to feel like its grave atrocities. What I mean by that is that in high school, what might actually be trivial feel like the biggest troubles of our lives. I’ll get into why it misses the mark in a bit, but I do think it’s a show worth watching, especially in today’s climate. Technically, a good title for this show could also be Laapata Ladies. I say this because, though I haven’t seen the film, I do feel there’s a sense of commonality in what they both want to say. Big Girls Don’t Cry, created by Nitya Mehra, plays out in 7 episodes that range between 45 minutes and an hour. 

I suppose the show’s main focus is female friendships and how, together, women can do anything. Yet Big Girls Don’t Cry is marred by its inconsistent screenplay. For the first half of the series, I was almost left wondering why this show was made. I suppose, as we are today, I was a bit impatient; however, an audience that is willing to spend their time watching 7 hours of a TV show will want something out of it. Of course, some things are simply for entertainment, but BGDC sets the scene for platitudes right from the start. What I do appreciate is that it never casts these girls through a judging lens. This is a massive highlight for the show because, many times, when there are so many types of personalities, there’s a chance someone’s going to be made to look bad for others to look great. Though these are all flawed characters, as should be with high schoolers, you do feel for each of them, never finding one’s problems diminutive in comparison to the other. Though I criticize the first few episodes, I think they still manage to set the stage for a good last few episodes that are emotionally more powerful. 

All the young actresses do a fantastic job in their roles. Each appears to come from different walks of life, and it does feel like a diverse set of women. Stand-out performances are from Avantika, a now well-known face, thanks to her appearance in both Hollywood and Indian cinema. Not only is she absolutely mesmerizing to look at, even while playing a rowdy basketball player, her expressive eyes and dialogue delivery feel very real. Vidushi as Kavya is another memorable performance. The young aspiring scholarship kid wants to excel in every way, even in making friends. The rest of the cast all do a great job of bringing the high school to life. Dalai, Akshita Sood, Afrah Sayed, Aneet Padda, and Lhakyila all bring their own selves to the screen. The show emphasizes “being yourself,” and I, for one, think the girls embodied this message really well. When it comes to the adults in the show, their storylines feel a bit over the top and a bit tacked on; however, they do help to push the plot, so we can’t really complain there. 

High school conundrums, love and friendship, patriarchy, identity, growing up, parental pressure, separation, fear of losing it all—this show covers it all, and maybe that’s why it falls a bit short of what it’s trying to do. There’s no denying there’s a sense of nostalgia and a sense of realism in this show, yet it feels all over the place because of its ambition. Imagine “Dhoom Machao Dhoom,” but on steroids. The oversaturation leaves the narrative stretched too thin, perhaps leaving one confused rather than engaged. Still, it is an earnest attempt at something that could’ve been great, though I’m not quite sure it’s worked this time around. 

Though, for the most part, the show is shot very well, and there are some stunning scenes set against a beautiful backdrop that make you wish you were in boarding school despite the many quandaries of being a teenager, there are some scenes that feel unnecessarily dragged out. What I mean is that the inspiration is quite obvious for certain scenes, which do feel unnecessary. For a show called Big Girls Don’t Cry, there’s quite a lot of crying. But jokes aside, despite its many qualms, I think this is a show worth giving a chance to because we’d love to see more of these. There’s no denying that these young girls are going to go a long way, and it’s only fair to foster their growth right from the start. 

Big Girls Don’t Cry may not be relatable to everybody, though the myriad personality types present in the show could make everyone feel seen, which is why I think it’s an oddly realistic show. One could compare the show to its many Western counterparts like Sex Education, Euphoria (tsk tsk), or even Heartbreak High, but I think that would be a disservice to this show. Perhaps the Indian landscape has the chance to grow thanks to shows like this, and we can look forward to more such shows with entertainment and something to say. Yes, it’s nowhere near perfect, but it’s a step closer to what we can expect and should want. If you’re willing to give Never Have I Ever a chance, I’d say Big Girls Don’t Cry is definitely worth your time. So, at the end of the day, despite its messy storytelling and its attempt to be an overachiever like some of the girls in the show, as well as Pooja Bhatt’s Anita Verma, it’s a decent young adult drama from an Indian viewpoint. I’d give Big Girls Don’t Cry an above-average score of 3 stars out of 5. There’s a lot of room for improvement, and hopefully, if there is a Season 2, we will see some massive changes, though it appears we’re set up for much more drama. 

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Ruchika Bhat
Ruchika Bhat
When not tending to her fashion small business, Ruchika or Ru spends the rest of her time enjoying some cinema and TV all by herself. She's got a penchant for all things Korean and lives in drama world for the most part.

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