Michael’s Movie Grade: B
A well made film about growing up.
This film in some ways functions as a modern day all girls version of Stand By Me with a group of pre-teen girls discovering a dead body. The mystery of what happened to this dead man though is not the main point of the movie. Instead it is a film about growing up and a fear of loss. The presence of this dead body brings the girl’s fears and anxieties to the forefront. Though many of us romanticize this part of our childhood, we forget just how hard it could be at times. The age between being a small kid and being a teenager is a truly awkward one, where you constantly feel out of place and don't quite know where you belong. These girls simply want to be heard and taken seriously, yet because they are still very much kids this can be quite difficult. This movie captures very well the complete awkwardness of this age and the fear that growing up may not be all you hoped it was. Yet this movie is also a celebration of friendship. Probably the best moments come from the little moments between the girls. Those of you who have listened to or remember how kids this age talk, will see just how well this movie captures the conversations between them. These scenes feel like listening to real kids talk (although let's be fair, kids this age have much fouler mouths then these characters do). They joke and make fun of each other, but they also completely open up to one another about everything in a way we grownups too often feel unable to.
This movie certainly has its faults though. The ending feels very abrupt, and it feels like there is still much of the story left to tell. While this may be intentional, it doesn't fully work. There are also moments when this film feels quite rushed (including the aforementioned ending). The adults are not as interesting as the kids and whenever the focus changes to the adults, the film gets a little dull. The opening narration also feels a little too heavy handed and kind of nails the point of the movie in too hard. While some of these faults might turn some people off, I feel the charm of the rest of the film easily overcomes this.
Despite its faults, this movie does a great job of capturing what it is like to be the age of these characters.