Melanie Benjamin, who has built an entire oeuvre out of dramatizing the lives of real historical heroines, delivers what in Variety lingo would be termed a boffo production with The Girls in the Picture, the saga of Pickford and Marion from the first flush of their friendship to its ignominious end ... One of the pleasures of The Girls in the Picture its no-males-necessary alliance of two determined females — #TimesUp before its time ... Most important, though, in Benjamin's telling, is the euphoria that comes with the freedom to create ... Inspiration is a rare and unexpected gift in a book filled with the fluff of Hollywood, but Benjamin provides it with The Girls in the Picture.
...a fictionalized account of the real friendship between silent film actress Mary Pickford and screenwriter Frances Marion ... In the era of #MeToo, Girls could not be more timely — or troubling — about the treatment of women in the workplace ... Benjamin has a flair for historical fiction about women's lives ... Benjamin portrays the affection and friction between Pickford and Marion with compassion and insight. Pickford gave Marion her big break, and Marion wrote the little-girl roles that came to define — and somewhat imprison — Pickford as the eternal ingénue ... Along the way, the women are bullied, belittled and even battered by the movie men who surround them ... The heroines of Girls struggle with what it means to be a woman in a male-dominated industry, seeking love — however flawed — along the way.
As Hollywood faces a reckoning about sexual harassment and, among other issues, equal pay, Benjamin’s book about the role two women played in the earliest days of movie making provides a depressing reminder of just how long these issues have plagued the industry ... The author of The Swans Of Fifth Avenue and The Aviator’s Wife brings her penchant for diligently researched historical fiction to chronicling the dawn of the American film industry ... The Girls In The Picture is at its best when the history takes a back seat and the book becomes more of a portrait of the complexity of female friendship ... It’s Benjamin’s attempt to tell the story from two different perspectives, casting both characters as alternately sympathetic and destructive, that falls short ... Flawed as the storytelling may be, The Girls In The Picture still succeeds at capturing a fleeting moment of time.
New York Times bestselling author Melanie Benjamin has taken careful notice of her subject’s recipe in her latest novel, The Girls in the Picture, about the long friendship and collaboration between silver screen star Mary Pickford and famed screenwriter Frances Marion ...vividly chronicles an exciting and not widely known era in Hollywood’s history ... But much like their female counterparts today, these ladies [Pickford and Marion] quickly learned that there was a price to pay for so much power and freedom. In addition to being an engrossing and enlightening read, the book offers great comfort of the things women (or any dreamer) can accomplish if they first possess the desire to create and then the will to see it through.
Benjamin escorts readers through the rise and fall of Hollywood’s silent film era by following a friendship and creative collaboration that helped birth the earliest movies: the fruitful, testy bond between the 'scenarist' and eventual screenwriter, Frances Marion, and Mary Pickford, a troubled early star ... Benjamin’s prose and particularly her dialogue are flatly contemporary; conversations between characters lack period nuance, and, while Marion’s and Pickford’s protofeminism is based on substantial research... However, the heady, infectious energy of the fledgling film industry in Los Angeles is convincingly conveyed — and the loving but competitive friendship between these two women on the rise in a man’s world is a powerful source of both tension and relatability.