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Featured DVD Review: Girl Fight

May 6th, 2012

Girl Fight - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Video on Demand

Girl Fight is the name of a Lifetime original movie that was inspired by real life events. Lifetime original movies based on real life events tend to have a poor reputation. The term, "Melodramatic", and all of its negative connotations come to mind. However, this film earned a DGA nomination. Is that a good sign? Or should I avoid getting my hopes up?

The Movie

The film begins with a fight between two girls, which is caught on a camera phone, and then uploaded to the internet, before becoming viral in the school. We are then introduced to Haley, a not so typical high school student. She's smart enough to skip a grade, but laments to her best friend that she hasn't been able to fit in with her older classmates. In fact, because she's smarter than her older classmates and more eager to learn, she becomes a target of bullying by Alexis (Tess Atkins) who is the Queen Bee of the popular clique. One day she rants on her friends Facebook page about Alexis, before heading off to work as a waitress. At one of her tables is Alexis and her gaggle, but when they try and pay the bill, they realize none of them bought money. Haley is kind enough to cover for them.

The next day, Alexis doesn't have Haley's money, but the pair start talking and it looks like Haley is finally fitting in with some of the older kids. At first this is great news, as fitting in with the older kids makes school a lot better. However, Haley starts to act out a bit at home and she's not the caring daughter / sister she used to be. Also, the good times with her new friends don't last too long either. There's some tension as rumors spread, although for a while Alexis protects Haley from her other friends. Then her new friends find her old post where she was badmouthing them and shows Alexis. After this, Alexis decides to get revenge, not by badmouthing Haley, but by physically assaulting her.

But that's not the end of Haley's abuse. The video goes viral and suddenly there's a media storm surrounding the case. Haley's mom, Melissa, wants these girls to pay for what they did to her daughter. Haley, on the other hand, is just looking to put it behind her. As a potential trial nears, the media attention becomes too much. Will Haley be able to find the strength needed to make it through?

Girl Fight does suffer from some of the same problems as many Lifetime original movies. It is a little too melodramatic at times. The video of the attack is shown over and over again and it moves from effective to emotionally manipulative. However, it also has a lot of strengths that lift it above the usual offering. The acting was strong across the board. Anne Heche and Jodelle Ferland are veterans and I expected good things from them, and they delivered. (On a side note, it's kind of strange calling Jodelle Ferland a veteran actor, because she's only 18, but she had her first starring role when she was only five.) Most of the rest of the young cast were actors I didn't recognize, but there wasn't a weak link in that ensemble. The acting and the subject matter does have a real emotional impact and this lifted the film well above the average for this type of movie.

There are two main problems I had with the movie, besides the melodramatic tone. Firstly, a few times characters said that these girls beat up Haley for the fame and Haley's father even blames the internet sites that host these kinds of videos for the attack. However, this was not a random attack and was not done for the fame. Secondly, the ending was crap. In the end, Haley decides that pushing for a harsh punishment is an act of vengeance on par with what the girls did to her. This makes no sense whatsoever. How is wanting the law to do what it is supposed to do the same as breaking the law for revenge? It sends the exact wrong message.

The Extras

There are no extras on the DVD.

The Verdict

Girl Fight is a good movie that features a lot of strong acting and a story that has impact. The lack of extras hurts, but the it is still a solid rental / leaning towards a purchase. If you are interested in purchasing, the DVD is cheaper than getting it Video on Demand, so that's the way to go.

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