Arts and Entertainment

Movie Review: The School for Good and Evil

The movie The School for Good and Evil had a lot of expectations placed upon it. This was due to its book, which the film is based on, and the popularity the series gained as it turned from one book into a trilogy into a hexalogy. According to many of its fans, these expectations needed to be met but ultimately were not. This is not because they didn’t follow the books to the letter. It is because some parts did not make sense or were downright dumb. One of the most significant changes made in the movies was that Sophie, vain and self-centered in the books, was kind and a good friend. Sophie made it into the School of Evil because even though she was beautiful, she was incredibly self-absorbed and only did things that were in her best interest. In the case of the movie, though, she is portrayed as an excellent seamstress and an even better friend. She even resorts to getting her hands dirty to protect Agatha in the vain of hitting someone with a frying pan like Rapunzel. Of course, that seems like a minor point to nitpick on, but there is much more. The relationship between Rafal and Sophie is bizarre, as he is an immortal man whose actual age is unknown, and she is a middle, school-aged girl. He calls her his bride and then kisses her, which is quite uncomfortable. It is also revealed that he has had other relations with an underaged girl, Lady Lesso, who was in love with him but could not obtain the impossible standards he set for her.

Netflix unveils the trailer for The School of Good and Evil | Digital Trends
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Finally, the fact that Rafal explains how he made Good vain and has turned them Evil is a beautiful message of how things can appear suitable when they are just the more privileged pretending to be better than those worse off. But, then, Agatha has to destroy the true meaning of those words and states that Evil only fights for itself while Good fights for those around them. This is not true, as the audience can see how the supposed “Evers” act throughout the movie. From how the School for Good turns those who fail into creatures, stripping them of their humanity, and how they fail those who can’t smile appropriately despite trying their best. They are trying to weed out those deemed different and outcasts and only keep those who conform to their standards clean and pure. These schools used to teach their kids, as shown by Professor Anemone stating she hates being a beautification professor and she used to be the head of the department of history, and the fact that nobody thought to fight this change shows how complacent they all became. Even though this all happened under the rule of Evil, Good is responsible for doing something about it or even noticing something was wrong. 

As the saying goes, those who watch as others do Evil are evil. There are some good points to the movie, such as how Agatha tries to address the hypocrisy of the Good and how Sophie eventually chooses Good when she sacrifices herself for Agatha. Still, in the end, this movie’s deeper meaning was stripped away by the harmful plot devices and constant contradictions. It was transfigured from a message about how things are not always as they appear to another movie that misinterprets and mangles the beautiful message that the books were trying to make so painstakingly. 

By Anvi Batra’24 Staff Writer