Happily Ever…: Our Review of ‘The School for Good and Evil’

Posted in Movies, Netflix, What's Streaming? by - October 19, 2022
Happily Ever…: Our Review of ‘The School for Good and Evil’

A bird screams across the sky. Well, the first mythological creature in Paul Feig’s The School for Good and Evil isn’t that bird. It’s a monster that looks like the hair monster in Uncle Boonmee Who can Recall His Past Lives. That’s the monster that, according to Gavaldon’s bookstore seller, Mrs. Deauville (Patti Lupone), lurks outside of the fairytale town. She tells this tale of caution to two teenage girls. The first is Sophie (Sophie Anne Caruso), a wannabe princess who doesn’t care that there’s a monster out there as long as she gets to leave. The second is Sophie’s ‘best friend’ Agatha (Sofia Wylie). She still wants to stay in Gavaldon even if people want to burn her for being a second generation witch.

Because Sophie can’t wait, she runs away at night, and Agatha follows her. The hair monster takes them to the bird who takes them to the titular school but there seems to be a mistake. The bird drops Agatha to the Good school and drops Sophie to the Evil school. Sophie squirms under her professor, Lady Lesso (Charlize Theron). And Agatha has to wear dresses that her professor Dovey (Kerry Washington) force on her. Another Good professor (Michelle Yeoh) teaches the Good how to smile. Both are experiencing someone else’s heaven and their personal hells. But rest assured, the Schoolmaster (Laurence Fishburne) says he didn’t make a mistake. He enrolled these two at the schools where they play out their destinies.

Fairytales have metaphors and sometimes, The School‘s metaphors can be a bit much. Because Agatha and Sophie are in a school they have classes and learn lessons about… good and evil. One of Agatha’s classes include doing into a forest where she and her fellow goods or ‘evers’ find a bunch of pansies with teeth. So this film is saying that beautiful things can be evil and to stop being shallow? Shocking. Although in fairness one other metaphor kind of works. As one of Sophie’s classmates attack her with a raven, she inadvertently conjures bees. Something that produce something sweet can also sting. Fleshing out these metaphors, the film uses CG but some moments feel practical enough.

There’s also something else about this film that might make its viewers want to yell at their screen. The characters are oblivious to why Agatha and Sophie are in the ‘wrong’ school even if it’s kind of obvious to us. Sophie has an evil side because she wants something and Agatha is good because all she wants is for Sophie to be safe. The boy they’re fighting about, Tedros (Jamie Flatters) is the closest character to figure this out. Nonetheless, in adapting Soman Chainani’s novel, Feig and his fellow screenwriters see something more obvious – that both have good and evil within them. There’s also a scene showing one of Agatha’s lessons that made me feel something that only Feig and his cast can. Lastly, the film is a good 140 but it didn’t feel long.

  • Release Date: 10/19/2022
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While Paolo Kagaoan is not taking long walks in shrubbed areas, he occasionally watches movies and write about them. His credentials are as follows: he has a double major in English and Art History. This means that, for example, he will gush at the art direction in the Amityville house and will want to live there, which is a terrible idea because that house has ghosts. Follow him @paolokagaoan on Instagram but not while you're working.
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