"The older we grow, the more we realize that true power and happiness come to us only through those who spiritually mean something to us," Albert Schweitzer wrote. "Whether they are near or far, still alive or dead, we need them if we are to find our way through life."

In Career Girls, Annie (Lynda Steadman), who resides with her mother, goes to London to visit Hannah (Katrin Cartlidge), who lives by herself in a small apartment. They haven't seen each other for six years. During college, they shared a flat above a takeout Chinese restaurant. As these two 30 years olds try to stir the ashes of their friendship, they recall some of the experiences that once knitted them together. Even then, they were total opposites: Hannah, a witty and controlling young woman filled with nervous energy and wild unpredictable rages, and Annie, a shy and socially inept girl with a bad case of facial dermatitis.

After talking, Hannah takes Annie along with her on an apartment hunting episode. They meet Adrian (Joe Tucker), a cocky fellow who dated both of them in college but now doesn't remember either woman. In another trip down memory lane, they encounter Ricky (Mark Benton), a lost and lonely soul who has fallen on hard times.

Writer and director Mike Leigh (Secrets & Lies) captures the wistfulness of these women who want to keep their friendship alive despite all the obstacles. The Chinese have a proverb that describes the slow simmering quality of friendship: they say that the fifth cup of tea between friends is the best. Mike Leigh serves up a fine fifth cup of tea with Career Girls.