Whose side are you on? The School for Good and Evil
The School of Good and Evil trended all weekend on the Netflix platform boasting fairy tale witchy vibes just in time for Halloween. With some major A-listers and a heavy hitting director, The School for Good and Evil has surprisingly low scores from critics.
The Conservative Critic decides if it’s worth a watch by asking: Is it entertaining? Does it have artistic/intellectual value? And is it liberal propaganda?
The Conservative Critic Meter Check: The School for Good and Evil
Overall Rating: Cute and Festive
The School of Good and Evil is squarely in the young adult fantasy genre and in that lens is extremely cute, fun, and very well costumed which is perfect for the season.
The story follows two unlikely best friends from a small town who get whisked away to a magical school which trains magical young people to become fairytale good guys or villains. As the girls grapple with their assigned roles, the story explores themes of ethics, the complexity of the human condition, the value of life and of course, true love’s kiss.
Paul Feig is probably one of your favorite writers and directors you’ve never heard of (not to be confused with Kevin Feige of the Marvel franchise). He is perhaps most recognizable as an actor from the iconic film, Heavyweights (one of my all time favorites), but he is also directed hits like Bridesmaids, Snatched, The Heat, A Simple Favor, and Spy the latter of which he also wrote. I find his work to be inconsistently appreciated by critics with films like Spy and Bridesmaids in the 90% range on Rotten Tomatoes but equally credible films like The Heat and Snatched receiving far lower. In the case of The School of Good and Evil (which Feig also wrote) the reviews are sitting at 36%.
But I disagree with the critics on this one and viewing The School of Good and Evil through the lens of its target audience, a pre-teen girl, I think it was a perfectly good showing with lots going for it and a lot of originality despite critics claim that it was highly derivative. Further, and perhaps why the ratings were so low, the film challenges the concept of cancellation and defining ourselves by one character trait or allegiance which is a concept mainly conservatives have been trying to resurrect in a post-woke society.
Is it entertaining?
It was pretty action packed. The girls are constantly facing death defying magical challenges or uncovering spooky intrigue. There is sweet youthful romance and plenty of dark humor. It seems like the run time is actually far too long at 2.5 hours but it never gets boring. Some of the critics challenge that the run time is untenable and perhaps it would have worked better as a series but I disagree because it truly seemed like the story had exactly enough material for its 2.5 hours and nothing more or less. There may be room for a sequel exploring the story of the girls even further.
It’s loads of fun and absolutely perfect to sit down and watch with the family for the spooky Halloween season.
Does it have artistic/intellectual value?
Rating: Well done
The film is very well done with performances above their weight class from the two young stars. Sophia Anne Caruso who seems to be essentially a total newcomer plays Sophie and is a real screen stealer. Acting opposite Academy Award winner and shiniest of all the stars, Charlize Theron (Mad Max: Fury Road) as Lady Lesso, Caruso managed to hold her own. She’s got a lot of charisma. Sofia Wylie (High School Musical: The Musical: The Series) is a known entity with the younger generation but once again delivered as a one in a generation beauty with all the emotional grace of a future “it” girl (move over Florence Pugh).
The A-list cast of adults included Morphius himself, Laurence Fishburne, Michelle Yeoh (Shang Chi and the Ten Rings), and Kerry Washington (Scandal). All were as splendid as ever and lended quite a bit of credibility to a story which may not have otherwise worked.
The costumes were devine. You can’t really go wrong with big dresses, big hair and big eyelashes. Some of the creepier elements could have been perhaps better imagined and the magic itself was a little lacking in elegance. But overall it was visually very nice.
The story had a lot of originality and was actually pretty intense in some parts. Young people do fully die in the film which is always a bit surprising for young adult material. But some of the dialogue was a bit fussy and some of the storyline could have used some work. There was never much of a twist, though, some of the plot was presented as though it was supposed to be surprising (it definitely was not).
Is it liberal propaganda?
Rating: Anti-cancel culture
One of the more important themes in the story is the idea that we are not made up of one thing or one decision but are instead the sum of our parts and that all of us have some good and some bad inside of us. Furthermore, the definition of what is good and what is bad can be fungible and everyone’s perspective can be different. One of the hero girls refuses to end her loyalty to the other even when the other has engaged in activities deemed evil by the powers of good.
This message is in direct contrast with the current liberal agenda. What liberals want is for us to turn on our neighbors, friends and family when we don’t agree with them on things as petty as vaccinations or political candidates. When someone dies that a liberal doesn’t like because of one thing they did, said or believed, they dance in their graves. This film challenges those edicts and invites viewers to consider the human condition as complex and holistic. We are not all good or all evil. And sometimes the things we think are good might be kind of evil from another point of view.
Liberals could never get behind a film with this kind of dangerous message and for that reason its safely conservative friendly.
For the young adult genre, The School of Good and Evil is a perfect Halloween watch if you’re looking for a long night of fun and lessons against cancel culture.