2019 / 94m / USA 

Directed by Dan Sallitt

Mara and Jo, in their twenties, have been close friends since middle school. Jo, the more outgoing figure, is a social worker who runs through a series of brief but intense relationships. Mara, a less splashy personality than Jo, bounces among teacher aide jobs while trying to land a position in elementary education, and writes fiction in her spare time. She too has a transient romantic life, though she seems to settle down after meeting Adam, a mild-mannered software developer. It soon becomes apparent that Jo, despite her intellectual gifts, is unreliable in her professional life, losing and acquiring jobs at a troubling rate. Substance abuse may be responsible for Jo’s instability… but some observers suspect a deeper problem. Over the course of a decade, the more stable Mara sometimes tries to help, sometimes backs away to preserve herself, but never leaves behind her powerful childhood connection with Jo.

“A vast vision of two friends and the fault lines between them. Brilliant… Transcends the conventional form of independent-film realism to realize a philosophical, personal cinema that seems created, fresh and whole, from start to finish.”

— Richard Brody, The New Yorker

“Three and a half stars (out of four)! What I love about the film, among other aspects, is how the wry verbal wit of the early conversations suggests a mordant comedy, almost a working-class variation on the films of Whit Stillman.”

— Michael Phillips, Chicago Tribune

“The rare movie that intelligently and compassionately honors the push-pull dynamic between two young women.”

— Melissa Anderson, 4Columns

“I hope casting agents and other industry types see Fourteen because I want them to see Norma Kuhling. She takes this strong role, by writer-director Dan Sallitt, and hits it exactly right.”

— Mick LaSalle, SF Chronicle