It is no secret that I love Lifetime movies, the more mockworthy the better. So I was fully unprepared for how genuinely good “Girl Fight” was. Perhaps it started out as not a TV movie? Not that TV movies can’t be genuinely good, but it was startling, how much I genuinely enjoyed a Lifetime movie in a non-ironic way. While I didn’t get my cheesy fix, I was so glad to have put this on my DVR.
5 Reasons to Watch “Girl Fight”
1. The Cast
Jodelle Ferland who plays Haley, the lead girl who is a victim of an attack at the hands of her friends (so she thought), is an absolutely lovely young actress. She is so engaging and believable in a role that had to be tough to play. Anne Heche and James Tupper are fantastic as the parents. Linda Darlow is absolutely wonderful as Mary Lou, the grandmother and guardian of the queen bee and ringleader of the girls who attack Haley. All of those girls are really good and very believable, as well. It was rough material they were given, and I thought everyone did an excellent job of bringing humanity to her role, despite the varying inner ugliness of the individual girls.
2. The Sociological Examination
The attack, which was based on a real-life story, was extremely brutal. And they show a lot of it. While the girls claim it is vengeance over a Facebook post Haley made, it really is about their getting 15 minutes of fame on the Internet, as they videotape the entire, excruciating half hour. After the media catches wind, a frenzy ensues that the girls enjoy, despite being in trouble. In that way, “Girl Fight” reminded me of “Funny Games,” as it seems to encourage the audience to question our own level of guilt in feeding a voyeuristic culture.
3. The Pacing
It is rare that even the better Lifetime movies remain interesting in the second half. “Girl Fight” was engaging throughout. I actually didn’t want it to end; it was so engrossing. It brought a lot of urgency to the scenes that called for it, but took its time letting us get to know the characters. Which in turn, made the urgent scenes feel that much more personal.
4. The Dialogue
By that, I mean the dialogue I think that “Girl Fight” encourages. If I had kids around Haley’s age, I’d want to watch this movie with them. There is so much going on in terms of how chaotic life can be as a teen, especially with all of the social media. The value of friendship and choosing loyalty and kindness over popularity is highlighted, but never preachy. And it’s a good reminder that even though we as adults might still feel like we’re teenagers, or at least like it wasn’t that long ago, we don’t actually know what it feels like to be a teenager now. Haley says as much to Anne Heche at one point, who rather than get all butthurt and huffy, realizes that Haley’s right and gently says, “Why don’t you tell me?”
5. The Ending
I don’t want to spoil it, but it’s awesome and surprising and it made me realize that us old chicks sometimes can learn a lot from people half our age.
Thanks to everyone involved with making this movie, and to the family on which it is based, for sharing their story.