Lily (Dakota Fanning) and Gerry (Elizabeth Olsen) are best friends spending their last summer together in Manhattan before Lily goes away to college. Gerry is the talker and up-front person who hopes to pursue a career as a folk singer. Lily is more reserved and even shy at times. At the beach, it is Gerry who comes up with the idea of a nude ritual run into the ocean. At first Lily doesn't want to join in on the prank, but she does and winds up enjoying the dip more than her friend who is nervous about being decked by a wave.
On the way home, they meet David (Boyd Holbrook), an ice cream vendor, who ignores Gerry's flirting and is immediately attracted to Lily. At home, Lily accidentally intrudes on her father kissing another woman. She is angry with the fights her parents have about his adultery. Most of all, she is upset because this surprise event takes the focus off her important transition from high school to college.
Determined to lose her virginity, Lily is pleased when David wants to have sex with her. Admitting that this is the first time for her, she is glad when he is both loving and gentle. The love-making awakens her libido.
Meanwhile, the death of her father (Richard Dreyfuss) sends Gerry into an uncomfortable period of grieving. The two friends both turn to David for comfort. As time goes on Lily grows more and more uneasy with not telling Gerry that she and David are having an intimate relationship.
Very Good Girls is written and directed by Naomi Foner, and she has come up with a credible drama about female friendship, the invidiousness of secrets, the imperfections of parents and their last attempts to control the lives of children on the brink of leaving home. Foner has been connected with other films we've appreciated, working on the screenplays for Running on Empty, Violets Are Blue, and Bee Season. All of these films have one thing in common: a healthy respect for the difficulties faced by individuals as they and those who love them navigate the tricky transitions from one stage of life to another.