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The Tufts Daily
Where you read it first | Sunday, April 14, 2024

Enter a fairytale in 'The School for Good and Evil'

The_School_for_Good_and_Evil_book_cover
The cover of "The School of Good and Evil" (2013) novel, the basis of the 2022 film, is pictured.

One of the newest movies on Netflix, "The School for Good and Evil," is based onSoman Chainani's 2013 novel of the same name. Have you ever wondered where fairy tales like Cinderella and Jack and the Beanstalk come from? Two best friends, Sophie and Agatha of Gavaldon, have long used them to escape their mundane lives. Sophie dreams of a future where she is a princess, but Agatha just wants her best friend to stay by her side while she endures daily harassment as the daughter of the town's "witch." Though they are extremely different, their friendship remains strong, at least until magic joins the equation. The rumored School for Good and Evil enters their lives, taking them away from their homes and into an environment where the rules don't always make sense. Will their friendship survive this school of heroes and villains or will they face consequences far more dire than bad blood as the semester continues?

Sophia Anne Caruso of “Beetlejuice” (2019–) on Broadway and Sofia Wylie from “High School Musical: The Musical: The Series” (2019–) star as Sophie and Agatha, with Kit Young as Rafal and Jamie Flatters as Tedros, the son of King Arthur. Charlize Theron, Kerry Washington, Laurence Fishburne and Michelle Yeoh round out the cast, playing teachers at the fantastical school. The costumes are beautiful and highlight the characters’ personalities. The special effects are done very well for a direct-to-streaming movie, and the writers adapted the book with very few changes to the plot. Director Paul Feig, who has also directed “Last Christmas” (2019) and “Ghostbusters” (2016), and the all-star cast do a great job bringing this book to life. If you've read any of Chainani's books then you know this is no small feat. The soundtrack, which features Olivia Rodrigo's “brutal” among other pop hits, contrasts with the otherworldly sets and costumes in a manner that complements — rather than distracting from — the world of the film. 

Fans of all things Disney and fairy tale retellings will thoroughly enjoy this movie. The two female protagonists are strong-willed and persistent as they navigate a school where they stand out as "readers" from a land outside fairy tales. They must fight monsters from their nightmares, as well as their classmates, in a school where failing an assignment means you are one step closer to living as a talking teapot or as a helpful woodland animal. Harry Potter fans will enjoy the scenes where Sophie and Agatha learn “uglification” and “beautification,” and train to survive fairytales. You don't need to have read the books to enjoy this movie as the story is slightly altered — although if you need a fun book to read, the source material is a good choice. Agatha and Sophie are compelling, flawed characters who don't entirely fit into the categories expected of them at the school, leading to conflicts with their classmates, professors and each other. The fight scenes are expertly choreographed, with special effects captivating the viewer as princes and princesses duel cyclops and many other villains. 

If you’re looking for a heartwarming fantasy tale of friendship and adventure, look no further than “The School for Good and Evil.”

Summary This movie will entertain lovers of books, Disney, magic and fairytales as an amazing cast brings Chainani's novel to life.
5 Stars