Archive for June, 2012

Review: The Moth Diaries

Is there a movie set in a girls boarding schools that does *not* involve some sort of  Sapphic menace? If there is, please let me know. In the meantime, let’s discuss The Moth Diaries, directed by Mary Harron. Based on a novel by Rachel Klein, centers around a group of young girls who attend the prestigious Brangwyn School. Our heroine, Rebecca, emotionally damaged by her father’s suicide two years earlier, is slowly healing with the help of her best friend, Lucy. At the beginning of their junior year, a new student, Ernessa, threatens Rebecca’s relationship with Lucy by insinuating herself as Lucy’s new confidante. The other girls notice that Ernessa is a bit odd, but Rebecca becomes convinced that the new girl is more sinister than anyone realizes. Ernessa’s pale skin, nonexistent appetite, seeming ability to hypnotize others, and penchant for midnight walks in the snow lead Rebecca to the conclusion that Ernessa is a vampire. As tragedies befall students and teachers at the school, and as Lucy becomes pale and withdrawn, Rebecca decides that only she can stop Ernessa and save her friends.

The Moth Diaries is enjoyable even if it seems satisfied with pulling only low-hanging fruit. Lesbian under- and overtones? Check! Inappropriate relationship between schoolgirl and hot new English teacher? Check! Heartless headmaster who ignores the heroine’s warnings? Check! CGI effects that make Ringer look like Avatar? Check and double-check! Director Harron, who adapted American Psycho for the big screen, hits the story’s highlights, but sacrifices any real emotional or character resonance in the process. According to Amazon, the book juxtaposes the Ernessa story with Rebecca’s life two decades later, so I am pretty sure there was enough source material from which to pull. Considering the movie clock in at 82 minutes, I think Harron could have spent a few more minutes with Rebecca and Lucy so that we care about what happens to either of them. Or better yet, why not extend the showdown between Rebecca and Ernessa so that it actually can be considered a showdown? As is, the big finale is as underwhelming as everything else in The Moth Diaries.


June 10, 2012 at 5:06 pm 1 comment

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