Monday, January 15, 2018

A Girl Like Her (2015)

Number Rolled: 4
Movie Name/Year: A Girl Like Her (2015)
Tagline: Evidence changes everything.
Genre: Drama
Length: 91 minutes
Rating: PG-13
Production Companies: Radish Creative Group, Bottom Line Entertainment, Parkside Pictures
Producer: Rachel E. Cole, Jarod Einsohn, Brian Oakley, Danny Roth, Jeff Spilman, Damiano Tucci, Tiziano Tucci, Amy S. Weber
Director: Amy S. Weber
Writer: Amy S. Weber
Actors: Hunter King, Lexi Ainsworth, Jimmy Bennett, Amy S. Weber, Stephanie Cotton, Mark Boyd, Christy Engle, Jon W. Martin, Madison Deadman, Anna Spaseski, Mariah Harrison, Emma Dwyer, Michael Maurice, Christy Edwards, Kevin Yon, Linda Boston, Paul Lang, Gino Borri, Sarah Kyrie Soraghan
Stunt Doubles: None

Blurb from Netflix: A hidden camera and a documentary being filmed on campus help a bullied, suicidal high schooler turn the tables on her queen-bee tormentor.

Selina’s Point of View:
Bullying is one of those issues that’s very dear to my heart. As a result, films like this really get to me.

This drama mockumentary really hit the nail on the head where the effects of bullying are concerned. Actually, it reminded me a lot of 13 Reasons Why (2017). If that story were turned into a documentary-style film, A Girl Like Her would be the outcome – with some obvious plot differences.

You get to see all sides of the story in this film. The suicidal girl, the bullies, the friends of each, the school board, the faculty, etc. Things are a little more candy-coated than in the aforementioned Netflix original, but that makes the pill easier to swallow.

Bullying is a HUGE problem in the teenage world. Small differences become huge reasons to disrespect fellow classmates. Disrespect can lead to something much worse.

It’s easy to see shit like this and ask why words are such a big problem? Why can’t she just block that girl’s number? Why can’t she just let that stuff roll off her back? Couldn’t she just ignore her?

If you’re one of those people that asks those questions, I have to wonder if you remember your teenage years at all.

Those of you who showed immense logic as a teen, you can throw the first stone – otherwise, kindly relax yourself and understand that the hormones running through human beings makes being a teen roughly the same for absolutely everyone. Emotions are heightened, impulse control is low, and there really is no such thing as just ‘letting it go’. Furthermore, the damage done to us as teens – especially when no one intervenes – can wind up being carried with us throughout our entire lives.

I remember being the bullied teen. I externalized a lot – even attacking a close friend of mine who was trying to be supportive, because I just didn’t know what to do with all that rage. However, I also internalized even more. I did some stuff that could have been irreversible if I had done just a little bit more.

Looking back at that time, it’s scary. It’s absolutely terrifying that people who didn’t matter at all made me feel like I mattered even less. And that’s what bullying is. It’s scared, emotional children trying to take control of other people in order to take control of themselves.

And yes, I mean that statement for all bullies – whether they’re 12 or 89. They are scared, emotional children.

A movie like this really puts into context that bullies are people too, and there’s a reason for what they do. It shows that those reasons might not excuse that person’s actions, but still offers a reason. It’s important to understand all sides of a problem in order to find a solution.

On that principle alone, I liked this film. However, there are a ton of other reasons that I love it.

In mockumentaries like this, it’s easy to get swept away in the shaky cam, but they managed to make it look very good. I wasn’t put off at all and at no point did the video make me queasy. The acting was pretty decent, and the story stayed true to reality. You had both clueless, and involved parents. You had an administration with their heads so far up their asses that they resembled an actual school board. The teacher’s hands were tied… it was all very true-to-life. If I didn’t go into A Girl Like Her knowing it was a drama, I might have thought it was a real documentary.

I would recommend this film in a heartbeat.

Cat’s Point of View:
This movie was profound.

I forgot for a bit that I was watching something fictional, and not an actual documentary.

This film really hits home. I understand the deep hurt and feeling of hopelessness that engulfed the character of Jessica. I may not have ever been suicidal, but I remember feeling like I wanted to crawl into a hole and hide from the world forever– and that was before the dawn of the internet and social media. I can only imagine what it must be like to be bombarded with harassment by modern bullies.

This is an issue my 14-year-old daughter has to contend with. It scares me to death. There’s nothing like the sinking helpless feeling when your child tells you that they don’t want to be here anymore. Verbal and social assailants become this nebulous nameless malicious shadow in the background that dashes out of reach when the light is shown on them. There’s a culture out there – even in places that boast zero tolerance – where ‘snitches get stitches’ and many a blind eye are turned. Silence holds sway in fear of reprisal.

The performances were so on point that it was possible to change the usual ‘suspense of disbelief’ into just straight forward belief in the unfolding events. I appreciated that this film showed a balanced view – giving multiple perspectives. We walked in the shoes of the bully for a minute – and it wasn’t an excuse or a justification, but an eye-opening experience. The whole story was handled tastefully. Self-harm was not painted in any sort of glorified or sensationalized way.

I think that this movie is an excellent vehicle for teaching awareness for bullying and its consequences. I would highly recommend sitting down with the tweens and teens in your life and this film. Have some tissues handy.

Speech Available: English
Subtitles Available: English, French, Spanish, Simplified Chinese, Traditional Chinese

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – 65%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – 80%
Metascore - 54/100
Metacritic User Score – 6.3/10
IMDB Score – 7.1/10

Trust the Dice: Selina’s Rating5/5
Trust the Dice: Cat’s Rating 4.5/5

Movie Trailer:

No comments:

Post a Comment