It is sometimes tough to grab hold of a teen film when you are in your middle twenties. I am not talking about the ‘understanding’ part but the stimulation and excitement. My last fantasy teenage watch was HollyBlood, and I quite liked it, to be honest.
The School for Good and Evil is the latest American family feature streaming on Netflix. It is almost 150 minutes long and based on a book. Furthermore, the movie aims to be exciting and quirky. Does it deliver? Here’s my The School for Good and Evil review, where I try to answer the same.
The School for Good and Evil Review Summary
High on VFX and otherworldly elements, the film tries hard to be the apple of your eye but fails to produce a fulfilling expedition.
The School for Good and Evil Synopsis
In the fairy tale world, two brothers, Rafal and Rhian, created a school to keep the balance between good and evil. Though they shared power without any qualms for ages, greed got the better of Rafal (the evil), and he tried to dismantle the dynamics of the game.
Based on this premise, The School for Good and Evil focuses on the lives of two young girls from a town named Gavaldon. Their journey at the school becomes the prime basis of the film’s story.
Directed by Paul Feig, The School for Good and Evil stars Sophia Anne Caruso (Sophie), Sofia Wylie (Agatha), Jamie Flatters (Tedros), Kerry Washington (Dovey), and Charlize Theron (Lesso), among others.
Moreover, it is based on the book by Soman Chainani
What Works for The School for Good and Evil?
The first thing that strikes you while streaming The School for Good and Evil is the visual aesthetics. You won’t be blown away by the optics but remain satisfied throughout the film’s runtime. Additionally, some scenes look full of finesse even when seen from the extreme critical eye.
There are many occasions where the film gives absolute vibes. Some of the dialogues are relatable, the spontaneous background wins hearts, and the emotional appeal does make an impact. However, they are few and intermittent.
Leading the way for The School for Good and Evil are Sophia Anne Caruso and Sofia Wylie, while the narration is helmed by Cate Blanchett as the voice of the Storian.
Caruso plays Sophie in the film and never seems to miss the bullseye. She hones the details pretty well while effervescently switching shades between the good and the bad. It is in her artwork that you find the simplification of the most complex scenes.
Sofia Wylie brings curtains on the bustling ambiance of The School for Good and Evil. The stability she brings to the screen is commendable, and the restraint in her expressions is top-notch, to say the least. I loved Wylie’s non-reliance on heavy-duty dialogue delivery, plus her rebelliously intense mien.
Jamie Flatters impresses as Tedros in The School for Good and Evil. His charming persona is aggravated by the minor touch of nonchalance. Initially, I thought Tedros would be high on machoism, but I was proven wrong as the movie progressed.
What Doesn’t Work for The School for Good and Evil?
I gave it a deep thought about whether to put its story in the pluses or minuses. What helped me conclude were the film’s farfetchedness and its inability to utilize the elements to their peak. When your feature is long, you must ensure it doesn’t reek of repetitions, among other factors.
The School for Good and Evil pitches the start quite well, but suddenly, the film tries to delve into multiple lanes. It wants to bring change, be modern, avoid cliches, etc. but ends up doing the opposite. Additionally, the premise of friendship could have been used to evoke emotions, if not curiosity.
You may disagree with me, but I think the battle between good and evil deserves a makeover. We don’t need to pretend to change the result; instead, we can innovate the process to bring novelty. The School for Good and Evil gives hints throughout that it’s different, and that’s what makes it more predictable.
Maybe, I am being too harsh because the movie is based on an already-published book. So, the makers didn’t have much freedom to tweak the idea.
In all honesty, 150 minutes are not much for a film, given it has enough to keep you invested. But the moment The School for Good and Evil loses its sheen, it begins to feel dreary. The movie could have been trimmed by a great 15-20 minutes.
P.S.: There’s a dialogue at -36:55, “If evil attacks and good defends then it would appear that good has become evil and evil has become good,” which is actually told to contradict a similar dialogue in the early part of the movie.
However, going by the situation, I doubt if it was appropriate. Shouldn’t it have been, “If good attacks and evil defends…?” Please drop a comment if I am wrong here.
If you are into the fantasy and fairytale genre, you can stream The School for Good and Evil, but expecting too much might hurt you.
Is The School for Good and Evil a family film?
Yes, you can watch The School for Good and Evil with your family. It doesn’t use cuss words and is void of intimate scenes, barring a couple of kisses.