The School For Good and Evil reminds us that sometimes all you need is friendship


Jayden Chui

The Sidekick Staff Writer Nyah Rama reviews The School for Good and Evil , a movie based on a novel about two girls that are best friends that end up on opposing sides of a war. Rama writes about how enjoyable the movie was, how it subverted her expectations, and how it was a really underrated movie. Graphic by Jayden Chui

Nyah Rama, Staff Writer

Please read this with discretion as it will include spoilers.

I sit down in my bed on a brisk fall evening, tucked underneath my favorite blanket: snack in one hand and remote in the other. I turn on the TV to Netflix’s newest release, The School for Good and Evil

Then, I relax, sinking  into this wonderfully crazy world for the next two and a half hours. After viewing this movie, I can honestly say it went beyond my expectations.

When I first saw the trailer, I thought it was going to be like all other movie adaptations: too much hype and not enough substance to back it up. But, surprisingly, The School For Good and Evil is the exact opposite. 

Honestly, the lack of hype surrounding the film is astonishing, especially since the book series is so popular. Having seen it though, I’m almost grateful that it was under sold. Not once does it rely on its stars, such as Charlize Theron and Kerry Washington, to pull it through. In fact, I didn’t even recognize that it is Theron and Washington. Major props to the makeup and costume crew.

The movie opens with a classic storyline we all know too well, brother versus brother. Once upon a time there were two schoolmasters, one in charge of good, the other in charge of evil, and of course he became power hungry and killed the good guy (but it doesn’t appear this way) and then the remaining man takes on the heavy task of guiding the school forward yadda, yadda, yadda. 

Fast forward years later to meet our young heroine (or so we think) Sophie (Sophia Anne Caruso) and her friend Agatha (Sofia Wylie). 

Sophie is a small girl with big dreams. She knows she’s destined for something more but is trapped in a mundane town called Gavaldon that’s filled with cruel people who don’t appreciate her beauty and brilliance. Agatha, her best friend, is the town joke. Everyone calls her and her mother a witch, but Sophie never does.

One day, Sophie finds out about a school for extraordinary people like her and wishes upon a tree to go. She finally gets taken to the school, with Agatha dragged along in the mix. When they arrive, however, our expectations as viewers are subverted. Despite Agatha’s history of being cast out in Gavaldon and Sophie’s pristine appearance, Agatha is put in the School for Good and Sophie is put in the School for Evil. .

Of course, you can see the plot before we are even 15 minutes into the movie. The two girls will work together to fight the temptations of the people and magic around them so that they can get back home, which is only Agatha’s goal. Next, the young heroine will go on an epic journey to get to where she belongs, end up falling to the dark side and then clawing her way back to realize the love of her friend is all she needed and humanity is saved.

Don’t count this movie out just yet. There are a lot of plot twists along the way, and the characters have a captivating depth to them (is it just me or was Hort the star of the show) that made this reviewer savor every moment.

Let’s talk setting first. When we first get a look at the two schools, they are side by side and we can immediately see the contrast, one shrouded in darkened clouds and the other practically having a shiny halo surrounding it, almost setting the tone for the movie showing how the “evers” feel morally superior.

Then, we step inside the good castle and everything feels so fancy and perfect, all your worries leave you for a moment because you think you’re in actual heaven (if you don’t let all those goody two shoes bullying Agatha ruin your day) from the gardens to the ponds, to the main hall with the angelic singers, it’s all so idyllic in a medieval way. It’s almost too perfect, something must be up.

Next, we step inside the evil castle and all of the sudden, your fears for this movie come screaming back to you. The castle practically looks like a medieval torture chamber, from the spikes hanging from the ceiling to the muddy water and gruff wolves, it automatically sets the tone for the “nevers”, yet it’s oddly almost comforting.

Now let’s dig into this juicy plot, from day one Agatha stays true to her goal, get Sophie and get out of there. Sophie however, has only ever wanted to be the leader, to do something more, so on her quest to get into the good school, she gets a little power mad. She ended up getting influenced by the evil schoolmaster *gasp* Rafal (Kit Young), twist he’s not dead!

Rafal leads her to do all these bad things and even pits her against Agatha in his plot to gain complete control and have all the magic and make Sophie his one true love. 

This naturally leads to the epic fight between good versus evil, and even a switch in the two sides, and then a switch back. The fight scene is the cherry on top of an already spectacular movie and I think the choice to go with Britney Spears’ “Toxic” is a stroke of genius on the part music supervisor because it so clearly displays the chaos that’s ensuing but not in an overwhelming way, rather it’s in an exciting, comforting, I-can’t-wait-to-see-what’s-next kind of way.

The ending to this movie had me crying as Sophie realizes what she has done and dies trying to save Agatha, but as we all know, true love’s kiss will save the day. This movie doesn’t show that you need a prince or princess to save the day, the power of friendship can be just as strong.

This movie does a marvelous job addressing the more outdated scenes like the teachers telling the princesses they should focus on landing a prince for the ball or know how to smile daintily so they can pass by turning Agatha into an outspoken feminist character, even Professor Anemone (Michelle Yeoh), is even joking about it by the end.

Credit to the filmmakers, Paul Feig, David Magee, Soman Chainani for making the story relevant, using modern language patterns while also demonstrating medieval style. It is also rife with modern comedy without being cheesy or giving off the appearance that it’s trying too hard.

I think I could overall rate this movie 8/10 and look forward to a potential sequel.

Follow Nyah Rama (@[nyah_rama]) and @thesidekickcoppell on Instagram.