Director: Paul Feig
Story By: David Magee and Paul Feig, adapted from Soman Chainani
Cast: Sofia Wylie, Sophia Anne Caruso, Charlize Theron, Kerry Washington, Jamie Flatters, Earl Cave, Kit Young, Laurence Fishburne, Michelle Yeoh, and Cate Blanchett
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Oh, this was such a pleasant and somewhat unique surprise. I really enjoyed my viewing experience.
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Theme & Story: B-
Overall “Paper” Score: B-
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General Public: Interesting Enough
Fantasy and Drama Movie Fans: Interesting Enough
Creative Fairy Tale Fans: Worth the Watch
Experience Seekers (Fantasy / Magical Action): Interesting Enough
Overall “Viewing Experience” Score: Interesting Enough
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1. When two friends, both treated like outcasts by their peers in their small town, are suddenly dropped in a different world (and in seemingly mistaken locations) at the wish of one friend longing for an escape from her town, they must work to find a way back home while also helping to uncover and fight a lingering darkness. This is The School for Good and Evil.
Thematically, it was a little messy. One one hand, there’s a message that focuses on the power of friendship and its impact on one feeling safe/secure, as well as the power it can provide for one to persevere.
On the other hand, we have messaging around human complexity in regards to being genuinely good vs evil/bad that was woven in as an extension to the first. 🥴
The strength of the story in support of the theme for me was in Act Three, and the second half of Act Two, once one main character begins to respond to her tension with the other serving as a physical and vocal support. 👍🏾
Where the film fell short for me was the entire first half. For me, it felt like 2 different stories that were stretched enough in particular places to make sense as one. We have one story that focuses on friends who are treated as outcasts and could’ve had more to how their uniqueness and individual goals/motivations were impacted by the treatment of the town; and then there’s another story about a journey to clear up a presumed mix up. 🤷🏾♂️
2. Alright for these visual effects! They looked really good. 👏🏾👏🏾👏🏾
3. Baby listen, when Sophie walked through that door in her new fits! 🙌🏾🙌🏾
4. Eh… I wasn’t drawn to any of the princes… 👀🤷🏾♂️🥴
5. The School for Good and Evil is about 137 mins, and it’s paced really well for engagement purposes. The film doesn’t provide any dead space, and I felt that the film was intentional about moving viewers into the primary location where all the good stuff takes place. 👍🏾
BUT… for me, the film moves a little too fast and misses development of Agatha’s character, and also both characters based on the treatment they face in their town in order to make a little more sense once the film takes off. 🤦🏾♂️
6. Chile… how old is she? And how old is he? #SumnAintRight…🥴
7. YES for that Act Three! 👏🏾👏🏾👏🏾
8. The twist that I thought was gonna happen, didn’t happen… and I appreciate that. 👍🏾
9. OOOO there’s gonna be a sequel?
10. I wasn’t expecting such a strong cast—Charlize, Michelle, Kerry, Laurence, and Cate! Michelle was the big surprise for me. I was really excited when she walked through the door.👏🏾👏🏾👏🏾🙌🏾
A character I really enjoyed, but didn’t have many lines, was Gregor. He was low-key funny and a little interesting in the context of this story. I also think the film did a good job using him to help move the theme forward around human complexity with good vs evil/bad a bit. 🙌🏾
Charlize and Kerry were fun to watch, both separately and when they were together. They were also used well as the “faces” in reference to themes around human complexity with good vs evil/bad. 👍🏾
Now our main characters. Performance wise, I truly enjoyed them, especially once the setting shifted to the school itself. Sophia Anne Caruso was the strongest character when it came to embodying themes about the human complexity with good vs evil/bad. 👍🏾👍🏾
Now Sofia Wylie was strong in regards to themes about friendship and safety/security, but was obviously used as the clear voice of reason when it came to themes of human complexity with good vs evil/bad. This sort of fit the personality of her character—one being observant and just a logical thinker—but her experiences as a character is where this story messes up for me. Personally, just calling her names, or responding to her actual name, doesn’t imply that she’s bad, and she also wasn’t someone who gave off vibes of being an unfriendly person. So her development for the bulk of the film felt super rushed and delicately forced. 🥴🤷🏾♂️
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Overall #TheSchoolForGoodAndEvil gives Descendants – meets Harry Potter – meets Once Upon A Time – meets The Good Place – meets Violet/Vylette from Jawbreaker – meets Cruella – meets Camila Cabello’s Cinderella – meets It Takes Two.
Okay… so first off, I did enjoy my viewing experience. I love a good, unique take on things like fairy tales, villains, superheroes, etc. —anything that disrupts the tradition or sheds light on a different perspective. There were also a lot of visual choices that helped elevate the engagement of this film in addition to the performances and cast! I also found the film to be perfectly curated for the PG-13 demographic—the music, character interactions, and overall vibe/tone felt “young, but ‘hip..’” (Ooo, that made me sound so old LOL)
My issue is that the writing missed an opportunity to do so much more with this film, and at times it looked like it tip-toed on something much more interesting, but then defaulted to a twisted, yet faithful-ish, fairy tale direction.
There was hints at racial tensions related to perceived good vs bad…
Opportunities for both main characters to have a genuine motivation or need for attending the school…
I also wondered what this film could’ve looked like if the schools weren’t separated, and progression through courses and experiences influenced how much of a person’s goodness or traits of “bad/evil” manifested and put them on paths of villainhood or saviors…
SN: I would love to see a Gregor spinoff of sorts. I liked his character, and felt there was some interesting complexity to him based on his who his father was and his personal dreams.
ALSO… the first “true love” felt a little inappropriate/uncomfortable… how old was she, and how old was he? Felt a little predatory…