Callie K. (ballofglitter) from GRAND ISLAND, NE Reviewed on 8/18/2014...
Very good realistic movie about high school girls that pretend to be your friend one day and bully you horrible the next.
Diaspora Chic | Silver Spring, MD | 12/29/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Boys tend to be physical when they bully their peers. Girls use emotional vice. In this movie based on the book, Vanessa is bullied by her peers becasue she doesn't fit their "clique". Her friend Stacy sees this but she doesn't do anything. She stands at the sidelines watching them taunt this girl through chat lines and websites. Vanessa can't understand why she is being targeted and why her friend from childhood sits there. From the beginning of the movie, it seemed like it was over a guy that didn't take interest in Stacy but in Vanessa. That made you wonder if what was happening to Vanessa was the reason behind it. But as the movie progressed, it is more about them, Niki's pack, that make themselves popular by terrorizing others. An African-American girl in the movie saw these girls detrimental to her psyche and avoided them. She had a good head on her shoulders, where many teenagers, especially girls are lacking. They value themselves according to the clothes they wear, the style of their hair and who they hang out with. Although no longer a teenager, I liked this movie because some things still haven't changed when I left high school. And I liked that the movie gave a positive role of an African-American teenager which is rare in some of these films today. The movie does go into sequences as to how Vanessa deals with the daily struggle of a student tormented and what happens when things take their toll on her. I hope that many girls, and guys that are watching this movie will get an idea of what it is liked to be the bully (Niki's crowd), the bullied (Vanessa) and the sideliner (Stacy)."
A must-see movie
Sarah Olivia | United States | 02/10/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This movie deals with issue of female aggression, a topic aptly covered in the movie, Mean Girls. But unlike Mean Girls, this movie is devoid of humor, narrowing in on how destructive this type of behavior is (with no comic relief).
This movie heavily borrows dialogue and material from its namesake, Rachel Simmons' groundbreaking book. This movie is a great companion to the book, offering us a case study of female aggression carried to the limit. Vanessa, initially a confident, well-adjusted girl, becomes a different person after the onslaught of rumors, hateful IMs, and verbal harrassment. Her mom, Barb Snyder, is distraught when she learns Vanessa's school has no clearly delineated procedures for handling verbal abuse. If abuse is physical (like the scene between two boys in the gym in the beginning of the movie), then school policy is well established. The principal realizes that something needs to be done when Barb brings in a print-out of horrid IM messages she sees on Vanessa's computer screen. Even Vanessa's attempted suicide does not bring these girls to their knees--they have become a dangerous form of insecurity, posturing to each other and making a pathetic attempt to build themselves up at the expense of Vanessa.
Emily is a refreshing counterpoint to the "white tornados," as she calls the clique who are bullying Vanessa. She doesn't care about the clique's approval (all of their insults are like "water off a duck's back") and helps Vanessa recover after her hospitalization. She tells Vanessa the truth: the girls are threatened by Vanessa and jealous of her accomplishments. She stresses the point that Vanessa can't afford to internalize the clique's nasty and delusional projections.
This is a great message for girls and survivors of bullying. I certainly didn't have the tools to deal with it when I was experiencing it in grade school, and the teachers seemed to have been like ostriches with their heads in the sand. I'm glad that both the book and movie promote schoolwide policies to handle verbal abuse, not just the more obvious physical fighting.
I'm not trying to have a self-pitying moment here, but I remember having been a confident, spirited child before I was bullied. My personality took a turn for the worse because I internalized the bullying. This "odd-girl out" aggression can really distort the self-image of its victims. To my knowledge, teachers are now attending workshops and receiving training to prevent this type of behavior and effectively deal with it when it occurs, in conjunction with schoolwide anti-bullying policies. No one benefits from bullying. No one's sense of self-worth should be forged at another person's expense. It's pretty obvious from an adult perspective that Vanessa's harrassers felt terrible about themselves, and these girls were compensating for their unhappiness in a really pathetic way (in other words, they were going about self-esteem and happiness in such a way that a genuine sense of self-worth will continue to elude them).
I acknowledge that this movie is very didactic--but its messages are delivered through a well acted, emotionally moving reeactment of what many young people go through on a daily basis."
J. Kidd | Pennsylvania | 12/30/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I just wanted to share with the world that I am a survivor of the same torment. I truly believe that there is a bully in every generation. I absolutely dreaded going to school. By the time my Senior year of high school rolled around, I was invincible. I can't remember how many times I cut class. I hated being bullied. But I wanted to tell today's generation that bringing weapons to school is not the answer. I am now 33 years old and my life has gotten better. There is light at the end of that never ending tunnel. You are not alone! I remember every minute of the torment but I choose to forgive and forget and get on with my life. Yes, it did hurt. But it's over now. Keep your head up! You will succeed! This movie really touches me. A must see!"
An impeccably scripted study of a teenage girl's worst night
MollyRK | Chicago | 06/10/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
""Girls are brutal. They hurt each other's feelings and tear each others to bits over the smallest things. Guys smack each other, and then go get a beer." These humorous yet frighteningly accurate words spoken near the beginning of this film provide promise for a well-written story that depicts the nightmarish lives of many teenage girls today.
A made-for-TV film that aired on Lifetime and easily outdid the 2004 satire "Mean Girls" (although both movies are good), "Odd Girl Out" succeeds with the gritty, no-holds barred details of what happens when girls turn against one another in the blink of an eye, with no prior warning or explanation. What's even scarier is the fact that no matter what each of us may have lived through or seen in middle school ourselves, we truly cannot be sure what is going on in America's schools right now--and maybe a little TV movie won't change it all, but perhaps if we look closely, it could open our eyes a little bit more to what goes on behind closed doors in the lives of young pre-teens.
This film follows the plight of Vanessa Snyder, a happy and well-adjusted--though painfully self-conscious--8th grader who seems to have it all: fabulous friends, straight A's on her report card, a pretty good home life (she's an only child who lives with her single mother), and the attention of a cute guy in school. Vanessa carries a particular friendship with longtime best pal Stacey Lawson, and while Vanessa always seems uncomfortable with the peer pressure and occasionally nasty vibes running through the group, she thrives in her friendship with Stacey. Vanessa is a sweet girl and a loyal friend, yet from the very beginning, it is evident that the mean-spirited Nikki has something against her (perhaps because Nikki, who is clearly the "second string" best friend to Stacey, doesn't quite measure up to the same closeness that Vanessa and Stacey share?) Then, when Vanessa is caught flirting innocently with a guy that Stacey likes, it is the perfect opportunity to make up a couple of lies, throw in a pinch of drama, and make the whole school hate her. For the first 20 minutes or so of the movie, we see Vanessa smiling and giggling constantly in every scene she is in, but that chipper personality flies out the window the second she is snubbed for the first time at the lunch table. Gone are the days of prancing through the mall and giggling about the cutest boys in school. Now a target not only for her former friends but also a stream of classmates she does not even know, Vanessa's spirit gradually deteriorates as she becomes lost in a world of vile websites, cruel text messages, disgustingly fake smiles, and verbal taunts and threats up and down the hallways. Some may be quick to ask why the girl doesn't bring any of this to the attention of her mother or confide in a trusted teacher, but in this case, it seems petty to even try arguing that, since any girl who has ever been an adolescent probably already knows the answer to that question. Even if you do go for help when things get that bad, would people even believe you? Would it sound too overexaggerated for adults to take seriously? Would teachers and administration be too intimidated by the hassle of it all to actually create/enforce any kind of plan to protect those students? Would very many of the bullies' parents admit that their children are behaving this way and be supportive in putting an end to it? Would the bullies get even worse once they figured out that the target "tattled" on them and caused all that trouble? Is it possible for victims' self-image to sink so low that they don't even know where to turn or how to make themselves feel better about the situation? I could go on, but by now, it should be at least a little more understandable why victims of bullying tend to keep quiet as long as possible.
Of course, since this violence is non-physical and taking place behind the backs of the school's staff and administration, it continues to spiral out of control, with none of the necessary discipline enforced upon these nasty girls. Initially, Vanessa does not get much sympathy or understanding at home, either. Her mother Barbara, a loving and nurturing single parent who lives vicariously through her daughter's popularity (for relatively cliched, predictable reasons that are unveiled at the end of the movie) doesn't understand why Vanessa is suddenly acting so irritable, rushing up to her room in tears, and refusing to talk about it. Mom assumes that this is a classic case of 8th grade drama and keeps trying to brush it all away, but that only works for so long. Even as Vanessa begins to secretly cut school and impulsively chop off her hair, Barbara remains oblivious to her child's experience. That's not to say that she doesn't care, and in fact, she does try to help at one point (she even goes to her daughter's school and attempts to get some answers about the verbal abuse going on), but by the time Mom realizes how serious the problem really is, her child is flirting with some potentially fatal danger.
"Odd Girl Out" is so well-done because it resonates with an honest and realistic perspective through the eyes of a wide range of characters. There's the naive teenage girl who has a hard time letting go when it counts most; the cowardly, so-called "best friend" who doesn't have the courage to defend what she knows is right; the cruel and malicious followers who relish in the devastation of others; the mother who absolutely adores her daughter and thinks she can fix everything but doesn't know quite how to help until it is almost too late; and the gentle, soft-spoken classmate whose self-confidence is compromised by nobody as she silently offers her friendship and understanding to someone who will take it.
Of course, one of the most frightening and eye-opening parts of the film showed how the "faceless-ness" of the Internet has helped mold a whole new generation of sneakier, more malicious backstabbers, making it much more difficult to point fingers at the guilty party. Any parent who doesn't monitor their child's computer activity more closely may find at least a handful of good reasons to do so after watching this. In today's world, all a bully has to do is make up a new screen name or open a new, free e-mail account that can be used separately to torment a certain victim. Disgusting? Unimaginable? You bet, but sadly, it is exactly what is happening right now. What's more, teachers and schools don't have the primary power to stop this one. That responsibility goes to the guardians, who can only figure out how to eliminate this serious problem by doing their jobs as parents. Obviously, most of the kids in this film had "free-for-all" computer access at home, with parents who had virtually no clue what their little angels were really up to. To say nothing of the fact that as they created and contributed to a detailed "I Hate Vanessa" website, nobody stopped to think that maybe the kids had a little too much negatively spent time on their hands.
This was not released in movie theaters, of course, but judging from its emotional quality and well-fought acting, it's certainly something worth seeing. Young actress Alexa Vega, the former "Spy Kids" alum who appeared in a few movies as a child and played a sunny, cheerful middle schooler in 2004's "Sleepover" (her younger sister Krizia makes an appearance in the film, too) takes it to a completely new level in her role as Vanessa. She has a physical appearance and on-screen quality that is very similar to that of Lindsay Lohan, and with the impressive range she showed crossing over to this film from "Sleepover," I have no doubt that her acting career is going to start booming in a few years. Lisa Vidal was perfect as the mother who would go to the ends of the earth for her daughter, yet shows an important lesson on why today's parents need to be carefully aware of their children's in-school experiences at this age. It is not enough to give your child a reassuring pat on the arm, chalk it up to the fact that it's "just the kind of thing that happens sometimes with girlfriends", and wait for the problem to go away on its own. Leah Pipes delivered quite nicely as Stacey, and I don't know where they found that Elizabeth Rice for the role of Nikki, but she was just dead-on. I give that girl big-time props for taking on such an evil and frightening character that virtually every woman can remember seeing in high school (I, for one, remember going to school with some slightly "watered-down" Nikkis, but for the most part girls will have no trouble relating as they watch this).
Terrific jobs to the writers and acting for making "Odd Girl Out" such an incredible and worthy film for parents, daughters, and women of all ages to watch, and let's hope that this critical message remains out there for years to come."
The Darkside of Girlhood
JR Corry | Fl | 02/23/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Forget you ever heard the phrase "girls are sugar, spice, and everything nice", because these rotten females blow it right out of the water. This movie proves once and for all that peer pressure and jealousy make monsters behind the prettiest faces and the girls here mold cruelty to a hard, shiny perfection.
The main character is Nessa, a sweet and adorable member of a fashionable clique led by her best friend, Stacey. Despite Nessa's discomfort at the snobbishness of some of her friends, she and Stacey appear to have a good friendship. When a boy Stacey's interested in becomes attracted to Nessa, however, Stacey begans snubbing her. Matters are inflamed when Nikki, another clique member with an unbelievable vicious streak and an apparent jealousy of Nessa, begins spreading false rumors about her "betrayal" of Stacey. Nessa's world is soon overturned when Stacey's clique becomes one vicious pack of girls dedicated to destroying her.
I should warn you that the movie becomes almost unbearably frusterating to watch at this point, as Nessa's confidence shatters and her tormenters delight in her misery with unbelievable malice. The ending is worth it all, though; Nessa's inner strength is greater than she imagined. I was a little bit surprised that a critic called the ending unsatisfying because the mean girls weren't properly punished. True, the witches don't get run over by buses like they deserve, but it's still pretty good. They used words to hurt Nessa, and she used words in turn to expose them for the swine that they were.
Don't be put off by this movie; it's not trying to say that ALL girls are nasty, just how cruel some of them can get and how words are sometimes the most damaging weapon. I never experienced cruelty to this extent as a teen, but I had my share of bullying and can really appreciate Nessa's plight and how she overcame it. Alexa Vega has come a looong way from her role in the amateur "Sleepover" and more power to her! This movie was very well-done and doesn't seem like a tv-movie at all! Definetly recommended! Also check out "Mean Girls", a movie with similar themes but much more humor. Good luck to all teens :) "