The Sisterhood of Night full movie review - The Modern Crucible / What-Do-Youths-Do Lifetime Movie
I'm really surprised at all the outstanding reviews that have come before me. This is enjoyable, but it is average. It is not as amazing or outstanding as so many of the already existing reviews say. Obviously opinion is opinion, but this is mine.
This is a movie with a very specific demographic - young suburban teenage girls in the mid 2010's. One other reviewer said it would prove to be timeless which I completely disagree with due to the specific demographic. It comes off like a made for lifetime movie.
The cinematography and acting are two of the aspects that would bring it above average, but the screenplay itself is poorly executed. The plot heavily draws from The Crucible, but it also has the aspect of the modern tech era to negate any theme of an outcast community. The timing is paced weird in terms of whole plot. The way that other girls come forward and also confess that they've been "initiated" with whatever that one individual's mind comes up with when it thinks of an unspoken secret, and the things that people come up with when they come forward is culturally realistic. But then it throws in bullying and suicide in what feels like ten seconds and the fact that this movie did that, makes me actually angry. That a film would just graze over teen suicide in script that's so heavily trying to nudge a shoulder in the face of a crying teen girl, is enraging to me. And the way that the bully/suicide is filmed in like a two scene sequence makes it even worse. It's so close to being right, too. A girl is bullied, molested, filmed during, has nobody to run to that she trusts after it happens, and kills herself. Problems: The shock only lasts like the five minutes it takes to walk from the "party house" that they drag her to back to her own home. The only person that it actually shows her trying to contact is her dad which is to me unrealistic for what's just happened. But as a once repeatedly suicidal teenager with panic disorder, any time that I faced trauma or thought of suicide and actually wanted to talk to anybody afterward or during, I would go to the friend that I thought was most intelligent and that I would know could keep a secret. The whole movie up to this point paints a very heavy picture of trust between these girls and their secrets, and it doesn't show her trying to contact a single one of them. Yes, they're all off Facebook, but it also shows that they all still have phones. In this it's like an accident but statistically teen suicides are based on impulse, or a lack of impulse control having yet developed. It would have been better if she had done it intentionally because that's more realistically how that kind of tragedy happens. You don't just throw a teen suicide overdose in a movie like that and then toss in a literal ribbon street dance of forgiveness at the end just a few days after the girl's funeral. Death, especially young death, the way that other teens feel when they realize that a peer has died, especially that a peer has chosen to die, or the way a young person feels at the moment of attempting suicide, should never be brushed into a story so lightly and then just forgotten like that, like it's just a whisper in the film's narrative.
I do like the idea of teens in this generation choosing to "go offline" and make a big deal out of it, but the idea is too heavily dramatized here. Also overly dramatized is the whole concept of "the secret." The way the local and then national media just instantly flock to the town based off one teenager's stated unpopular blog is bizarre. The aesthetic of the online world is extremely outdated. The attempts at sending messages "subtly" are done too forwardly, like the inward zoom of the girl's smile and the shot of her screen showing climbing subscriber numbers. The way that her blog becomes a safe haven for girls who have survived real sexual assault is also just "what? ugh." Not because the idea exists, but because it's just lightly brushed in. There could be so much more exploration with the idea of an online safe haven like that with that specific purpose, and it would probably not be so easy to find and just smash in the headlines of a newspaper. I hated those shots, too. Where it just shows newspaper headlines being slammed down on top of each other, with certain quotes or excerpts underlined or highlighted. Also the narration over the film, like it's being half read from a diary and half read from a news interview, with some shots literally showing the characters being interviewed by a news crew, awful. Just awful. I do believe the majority of this film's flaws lie within the narrative aspect itself, all other aspects are what make it decent enough. The acting is half n' half. Some of the acting is done so well I forget they're acting, others are so bad that I can see them trying not to smile during an awkward scene that's supposed to be serious. I don't know, I'm going on for too long with this. Good movie for a film student, not so good as an overall film, though. This is my first time writing a review on here.