Wednesday, August 24, 2005


Poor Jena Malone - for someone so young, she's a terrific actress. Yet, everything she's shone in (this film, Donnie Darko, The Dangerous Lives of Altar Boys, The United States of Leland) casts her as the good/troubled girl. I wonder what'll become of her as she grows older and out of this role. The young cast of this film turns in good performances - Moore is perfect as "Bible thumper" Hilary Faye and manages, towards the end, to cast her character in a somewhat more sympathetic light. Culkin, in one of his first movie roles as an adult, impresses, though not a whole lot is asked of him. It's Eve Amurri (Susan Sarandon's daughter) who stands out in this movie as social outcast Cassandra. Beyond the acting, the movie delivers a good message and is sure to be enjoyed by non-religious types as well as Christians (the non-militant kind, at least). In fact, I think the movie is best summed up in a scene where Hilary Faye screams "I am filled with Christlove!" and throws a Bible at Malone's character, the pregnant Mary, who returns the Bible, saying "This is not a weapon." My grade: B

Synopsis: "Good girl" Mary and her popular, influential best friend, Hilary Faye, are starting their senior year at the top of the social structure at American Christian High School. But when Mary finds out she’s pregnant, Hilary Faye and her devoted "disciples" turn against Mary and the school labels her an outcast. It's as an outsider, however, that Mary finds true friends – other students the school doesn't quite know what to do with. In this sweetly subversive comedy, a group of strangers band together to navigate the treacherous halls of high school and make it to graduation, ultimately learning more about themselves and finding out what it truly means to be Saved! (via Yahoo)

Director: Brian Dannelly ("Weeds")
Writers: Brian Dannelly and Michael Urban
Stars: Jena Malone (Donnie Darko), Mandy Moore (A Walk To Remember), Macaulay Culkin (Home Alone), Eve Amurri (The Banger Sisters), Patrick Fugit (Almost Famous), Martin Donovan (The United States of Leland), Mary-Louise Parker ("Angels in America")

Useless Trivia: As Pastor Skip enters the school library to talk to Hilary Faye and the Christian Jewels about Mary, there is a READ poster featuring R.E.M. visible over his shoulder. Michael Stipe is the lead singer of R.E.M. and also co-produced the film.


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