Where to begin – because believe me, there’s so much yet so little I can say about this movie. In short, I don’t know why DirecTV or RKO or anyone else spent money on this. However, I loved the cast so much that I’m kind of glad they did? It was a very conflicting hour and a half for me.
Let’s break down what this movie is. Basically, Hailee Steinfeld and Sophie Turner have Ben raised in this school for assassins. Turner has always stuck to the program, while Steinfeld excelled in the program but couldn’t get away from her emotions and longs for a normal teenage life. When Steinfeld is out on a mission to capture Jessica Alba, whose character’s backstory isn’t memorable – just know that she’s crazy, Steinfeld fakes her own death. Steinfeld enrolls in a high school under a foreign exchange program and the movie follows her learning about the real world, while trying to keep those around her safe from her past.
I feel like people who watch this movie will be on one of two sides of opinions afterwards. The one where you’ve seen the trailer, and know that the premise is very much a dumb, fun made for TV movie. The other, you’ll catch it on TV and see the cast and think you’re in for a much bigger movie than you are – if that’s you, you probably won’t enjoy this movie.
What really kills this movie, is the parts where it forces you to remember that it’s a made-for-TV movie. The animation in this movie is just abysmal, and the chroma key(green screen)? Forget about it. It’s 2015, I feel like you have to actually try to get green screen effects that obvious. It looked like Hailee Steinfeld and Jessica Alba where just using Apple’s PhotoBooth effects in the most uncomfortable position ever. I feel like if people were to give this movie a try and decide it’s not worth watching, this would be the moment they decide to stick with it or find something else.
With all that said, if there was nothing else on TV – I wouldn’t mind watching this again. This seems like a case of not being able to make a good thing out of a bad script. Not to say the screenplay was the worst thing, but I feel like this is a project that looks better on paper that it does on screen. If this was a YA book serie that chronicles Megan Walsh’s time in high school – it’s something I’d steal from my little sister and read. However, the casting in this movie makes you want to stay. I mean, Hailee Steinfeld and Thomas Mann as the nerdy-best-friends-who-should-just-get-together-already? Adorable.
If I’ve learned anything from this movie, it’s that Hailee Steinfeld should find more outlets to flex her comedic muscles. I didn’t think this movie would make me laugh, but Steinfeld is just so freaking likable that you can’t help it. Also, her interactions with her host family brother is my favorite. Another thing is, if anything wins you over in this movie – it’s Steinfeld and Mann throwing puns back and forth. Again, too adorable.
Can we talk about Sophie Turner for a second? (Of course we can, it’s my website.) I watched this movie to get away from seeing Sophie has Sansa Stark from Game of Thrones , because let’s be real – if you watch that show, I just really needed to see something where she gets a break. First of all, she’s a badass in this movie, I want to see more of this action movie Sophie. However, there’s only a second at the beginning of the movie where you can really root for her. I feel like most movies have the jealous character who eventually comes around. This did not happen here. The amount of life bestowed upon me during Turner and Steinfeld’s last interaction, whenever Steinfeld said something to Turner that is 100% too rude to say to someone in real life no matter how much you hate the person, was unreal. It was all SO justified for Turner’s character.
They closed this movie with a cliffhanger for a potential sequel. But I don’t see that happening. Even though, I love myself a good dysfunctional family flick- and if a sequel were to happen Steinfeld’s character would totally have to be adopted by her host family for it to work. Aaaaaand spoiler alert, I am a huge sucker for cute sibling relationships, so I would definitely end up watching a sequel to this anyway.
Overall, should you watch it? Probably not if you’re not going to take it for what it is at face value. But if you take it for what it is, it’s definitely watchable. It’s a fun time to go through all the cliché characters at her high school, when you and your friends are having a bad movie night. If anything, the performances will make you wish they had better resources – or will make you totally okay with the hypothetical situation of Sophie Turner punching you square in the throat. Your choice.