Leighton Meester’s new thriller is about murder and the complexity of female friendships

Warning: this article contains some spoilers.

Netflix’s new movie “The Weekend Away” may be a murder mystery. But at its core, it’s also a story of female friendship.

And that’s part of what won over its star, Leighton Meester.

Friendship “East history,” the “Gossip Girl” alum said in a recent Zoom interview. “Without that relationship, it really wouldn’t make sense.”

The film, which was released on Thursday, follows two friends, Beth (Meester) and Kate (Christina Wolfe), who reunite for a weekend in Croatia that goes awry.

Kate disappears after a night out, during which Beth passes out, and authorities later discover she was murdered. Beth then becomes the main suspect.

“Beth and Kate care about each other,” Meester said. “They have a lot of history. Regardless, I think they really like each other, and I think it was a very important relationship to have meaning for us.

Before Kate’s death, the friends find themselves catching up on each other’s lives. Beth had a baby and Kate went through a major breakup. Neither of them have clearly been there for each other. When authorities grill Beth, they tell her that witnesses saw the two fight while drunk.

“Human beings are complex. Women are complex,” Meester said. “I think a friendship, especially as it gets older… tends to evolve. … I hope we portray that friendship as real. That it’s not perfect, we’re not on the same length waves, and yet there is so much love for each other.”

Screenwriter Sarah Alderson, who penned the 2020 novel of the same name, said she had her own friendships in mind when creating the fiction between Beth and Kate.

“I remember being a kid and my mom always telling me that your girlfriends would always be there for you — boys come and go,” she said in a recent Zoom interview. “She was right. I have the most amazing group of friends, which I find truly inspiring and uplifting. I didn’t want this to be a negative showcase of female friendship.”

Despite what happens in the film – Beth’s tragic murder – Alderson said it was important to the story that “even at the end Beth was trying to find justice for her friend”.

Sharon D. Cole