So this is an Australian film that came out around 2007 that I put on my Netflix queue who knows how many years ago and for reasons that I can’t remember. It’s very possible that I read about it on a movie blog or social media feed and was told that it was an intense, “real” look into serious issues facing teenagers. I can definitely say that it’s intense and real. Is it good and worth watching? Well …
The premise is that at 2:37, someone has committed suicide in the bathroom of a high school. We then go back to the beginning of the day and follow six students through documentary-like interviews and learn all about their various problems. Naturally, we also try to learn which one of them is going to die at the end of the movie.
We never do see any crew doing any sort of documentarianing or anything like that, but there is a one-off line where a girl says to another girl that a student video is being made, so I think we’re supposed to assume that is what the interview footage is from. Anyway, the problems that some of these are having become pretty quickly apparent: Melody has just discovered she is pregnant, Steven is being harrassed for being gay, Lucas is actually in the closet and dates a pretty popular girl to cover it up, and Sean constantly wets his pants. There are peripheral characters who are generally cruel to one or more of our protagonists as well, and I’d say that for the first two-thirds of the film, we get a pretty good look at deep problems teenagers could be facing.
Then, it takes this turn into unnecessarily graphic places. While suicide is not supposed to be glamorous, it is portrayed in very graphic detail at the end of the film. But worse than that is the scene where we discover who got Melody pregnant because it’s not Lucas (which is whom we’re let to believe), but her brother, in what is a brutal rape scene. And seriously, I almost turned the movie off but I think at that point there was so little time left in it that I kept watching just to finish.
That one scene takes away anything the movie actually had, which was a pretty good structure of having the characters cross paths throughout the day by having them walk through scenes other characters had performed (i.e., we see a conversation between two characters and a third walks by, then we rewind to that third character and see him before that, then pass that couple having that conversation). I think it’s something that’s been done a million times before, but it does have a nice effect of showing us the way that high schoolers can sit inside their own worlds and not see what’s going on with the people around them. Which, by the way, makes the fact that the person who kills themselves is none of those six and is someone who was in the margins of the film the whole time. Because yes, sometimes it’s the person you least expect who does not seem to be exhibiting any “signs” of being suicidal.
Yeah, yeah, spoilers. But I can’t recommend this film because of that rape scene. It adds nothing to the story. A teenage girl finding out she’s pregnant can be pretty devastating and could lead any audience, at least for that moment, to think she might be thinking of doing something this drastic. Why they had to show her brother brutally raping her makes absolutely no sense. And I’m sorry if I am coming off as angry at this film, but it comes out of nowhere and yes, I was pretty ticked off at it.
Buy, Rent, or Skip?