Rated: PG-13 for disturbing thematic material involving teens, and for language. Reviewed by: Jim Release date: March 27, 2015 Released by: Parkside Releasing
Perhaps an analog to Lee Hirsch's 2011 more intimate and probing documentary is Amy S. Weber's dramaturgy with a somewhat interesting (at least initially) look at today's high-school harassment advertised through a real-time software application. Especially from varying point of views through a crew and a tiny camera complements of a sweet, preppy best friend (Jimmy Bennett, whose handheld recording covers a good part of the movie).
A Girl Like Her was filmed in the Detroit area and goes for a truthful, extemporized approach at South Brookdale High, listed as one of the country's most accredited public schools from how the seemingly healthy relationship of reticent brunette sophomore Jessica (Lexi Ainsworth) and blonde clique diva-like Avery (Hunter King) deteriorated. Both actresses have their primary credits on daytime episodic television. Ainsworth projects candor and reproach, while King has a distinctive governing vicious tendency which emerges in cutthroat fashion.
Weber's crew (she's relegated to being heard off-screen) heads to South Brookdale to check out the booming institution, but learns of a deeply despondent Jessica hospitalization from having swallowed a bottle of pills. Amy soon learns of the persecution of the victim months before (thanks to the technically keen Jimmy) by Avery from physical and verbal abuse as well as agonizing texts.
The credibility of the whole enterprise including an churning production comes into question (or is compromised) notably when the crew is allowed in Jessica's hospital room where she lies unconscious at the behest of Jessica's presumably loving and supportive parents. How personal family business is revealed in
some austerity of the actual footage places the in-the-moment dramatization gradually into platitudes and grandiloquent levels.
The way a sentient reporter like Weber and her character address Avery and her later surprising conceited kindling has noticeable receptiveness with a knowing visual viscous acuity when social media is a part of a reconciliation but maybe not utilized as well as it could have been. The filmmaker stumbles in the
storytelling department while Ainsworth and especially King evince a certain viability around obedience and provincial entitlement.
Thematically, A Girl Like Her doesn't really shed new light like what reality features like Catfish did and may seem like an MTV production in the guise of an After school Special. The issues relating to insecurity, ratting,isolation, and prestige (coming most prominently from novice actress Christy Engle, Avery's mom) connect to important message regarding bullying. Yet, as it raises questions for the important teen demographic, a film-within-a-film eventually isn't as creative about popularity as its events and outcome would indicate.
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