The reviews are in for Netflix’s latest fantasy property, The School for Good and Evil. The movie is directed by Paul Feig, of Bridesmaids and The Heat fame, and stars Sofia Wylie, known for her role in the Disney+ show High School Musical: The Musical: The Series, and Sophia Anne Caruso, who originated the role of Lydia Deetz in Beetlejuice on Broadway. Supporting the ladies are big stars including Charlize Theron and Kerry Washington. It follows Wylie and Carusos' characters as they are pitted against each other after being placed in the schools of good and evil, respectively. Though it’s based on the popular YA series by Soman Chainani of the same name, the reviews for the film are mixed.
Starting with Maya Phillips from The New York Times, she explained that there are good and evil elements to the film. She wrote that the special effects, certain points of the plot, and the world-building aren't the best. However, she did praise Wylie’s performance along with the A-list older cast members, specifically Theron, Michelle Yeoh, and Laurence Fishburne. She wrote:
While there were aspects of the film Phillips enjoyed, David Ehrlich at Indie Wire did not like the movie at all, calling it a ripoff of the Harry Potter movies in the headline. He discussed the parallels to the popular series about the wizarding world, and then also pointed out the various clichés The School for Good and Evil fumbles into. He wrote:
Sticking with the Harry Potter comparisons, Peter Debruge at Variety said the movie felt like it “recycled from J.K. Rowling’s superior wizarding school.” However, he did compliment the costume design, though that was really it. His main point was the film tried to tackle too much, writing:
Meanwhile, Hoai-Tran Bui at /Film was not nearly as offended by the film as the last two critics. She described the film as “charmingly silly” and a “frothy and fun time.” She complimented the performances of the two leading ladies, while also pointing out some of the film's flaws, the biggest one being it’s too long. While most of these critics have compared it to Harry Potter Bui took a different route, writing:
Christy Lemire at Roger Ebert wrote that the movie feels “overstuffed.” She wrote that there are lots of interesting points the film could focus on, but its big flaw is it tries to focus on them all rather than choosing one. She compliments the performances of Wylie and Caruso as well as the over-the-top sets and costumes. However, in the end, it just tired to do much, and she gave it 2.5 stars.
Well there you have it, the consensus seems to be mixed to negative when it comes to The School for Good and Evil. However, there was agreement that the film is visually stunning, especially the costumes.
Riley Utley is a Weekend Editor at CinemaBlend. She spent many years working in local journalism across the country writing about art, news and sports. One of her favorite films is When Harry Met Sally and she walks around constantly quoting Ted Lasso.
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