Released recently are a couple of teen dramas to talk about. First we have A Girl Like Her. I’m assuming this is supposed to be some groundbreaking, I can’t believe this stuff happens type film, but it didn’t resonate with me in the slightest. I’m not a girl so I have no idea what it’s like to experience the “mean girl” situation. This is about a girl who’s bullied at school by the popular girls (specifically one former friend) and with help from her friend decides to video the harassment to get her revenge. High school was a lot longer ago than I’d like to admit so I really don’t get today’s world of recording everything, 24/7 social media, posting everything in your life on Facebook mentality. Don’t get me wrong, I understand bullying, that’s NOT new. It’s always happened and will always happen, but when I was growing up you either let it happen or threw a punch. Because of that video recording and the film wanting to look “authentic”, I didn’t like its style at all. I hate shaky cam. I hate found footage. I hate most fake documentary style films. Nothing about this works for me. Maybe if you have a teen and don’t realize this really happens it might be news to you, but if you haven’t lived under a rock, nothing about the film is original. I will say both lead actresses were pretty good though.
Next we have I Believe in Unicorns. It’s another film that being the opposite sex hurts. This is about a young teen girl who takes care of her sick mom, but falls in love with a “bad boy” who ends up being violent. I understand the overall story of first love and wanting to break out of your shell and being with someone different than you, but I didn’t get the randomness of the movie. There’s daydreams and toy unicorns and random scenes that feel out of place to me. Maybe it represents her transition from naïve girl to young woman, but it didn’t feel necessary to me. You know the guy is no good for her and she even asks him in advance if he’s going to hurt her. It’s a shame it’s really artsy because I thought the actress, Natalia Dyer, was stunning and really good. At times it’s sexual and abusive, other times it’s your standard two kids on a road trip love story. It just didn’t gel together for me. Again, maybe I’m the wrong sex for it.
Last we have A Brilliant Young Mind. Based on a true story, Asa Butterfield plays a teenager on the Autism spectrum who is a mathematical genius. He qualifies for the British team at the International Mathematics Olympiad. It’s one of those movies that you watch and never have to watch again because you probably won’t learn anything new. There’s nothing exactly wrong with the film, but you kind of feel like you’ve seen it before. Whether it’s a chess champion, spelling bee wiz or even adult films about Stephen Hawking or John Nash, we’ve seen these characters before. He’s brilliant, but on the spectrum so he likes things with Prime numbers and doesn’t like to be touched and finds it difficult to interact in social situations. Butterfield is good in it, he’s a terrific young actor, but it’s a bit slow and predictable. I did like the scenes in Asia where all the other teams interacted with one another, but there’s nothing all that new or exciting in this one as well.