The Movie Snob gets out to the movies.
A Girl Like Her (B). OK, what is a crusty old movie critic like me doing reviewing this movie about bullying in high school? Well, I have a confession to make: I watch The Young and the Restless. Yes, the soap opera. My mom has been visiting me for a while, and she watches it, so now we watch it together. It hasn’t taken long for me to see all the soap-opera stereotypes in their blazing, off-the-rails glory. Long-lost identical twins. Secret identities. Blackmail. Amnesia. Year-long comas and miraculous recoveries. And tangled intra-family dalliances that make the Oedipus family look like the Cleavers.
What this has to do with the movie is that a major cast member of Y&R (Hunter King, sister of Joey King from Oz the Great and Powerful) stars in A Girl Like Her as The Bully, and so I decided I just had to check it out. The movie is quite a bit better than the lame after-school special I was expecting, and I thought King was actually a pretty good actress. In the early going, bullying victim Jessica (Lexi Ainsworth, TV’s General Hospital) swallows a bunch of pills and lands herself in a coma(!). For the rest of the movie, we are either following the investigation of this attempted suicide as it zeroes in on King’s character, Avery, or watching “flashbacks” courtesy of amateur videotaping by Jessica’s best pal Brian, who documented the bullying but tragically let Jessica prevent him from going to the authorities. The movie is shamelessly manipulative—who wants to see Jessica’s nice parents crying in her hospital room? Or sweet Jessica crying after a bullying episode?—but it also does a decent job of humanizing Avery without excusing her awful behavior. Not a bad movie.