This post is a duplicate of my review of this product for Amazon.
4 out of 5 stars
Elsie Fisher does a marvelous job as the insecure, likable Kayla and Josh Hamilton plays his role as the sweet but sometimes irritatingly out-of-touch and overprotective dad perfectly. Kayla's high school mentor Olivia is adorable if a bit clueless. There is the eye-roll-inducing stereotypical pretty mean girl Kennedy, and Kayla's crush Aiden has all the personality of wallpaper paste.
The movie does a nice job of addressing sensitive subject matter such as Kayla's panic attacks. I was a teenager in the late seventies and early eighties, and was unable to discuss my psychological issues with anyone for fear of being placed on a psych ward or dismissed as "seeking attention" or being "overly dramatic." When I read about bipolar disorder (then called manic depression) in my junior year psychology class, I recognized myself in a lot of the symptoms. I approached the subject with the teacher and she told me I couldn't be manic depressive because manic depression was a psychosis and I wasn't psychotic. I would not be properly diagnosed with type 2 bipolar disorder until I was nearly 40 years old. If nothing else, movies such as this one approach issues such as panic attacks without pathologizing the person suffering from them.
The movie also does a good job of addressing the pressure on teens, particularly teenage girls, to be sexy and sexually active. Olivia's creepy friend Riley attempts to pressure Kayla into removing her shirt during a game of Truth or Dare when they are alone in his car together, and Kayla's crush Aiden is rumored to have broken up with a previous girlfriend because she wouldn't send him nude photos.
The movie is appropriate for teenagers. Kayla is a relatable character, an ordinary and likable if socially awkward young woman. I found myself thinking that it was a shame for her to waste any time or energy on a shallow, self-absorbed twit like Kennedy or a limp dishrag like Aiden.
Teens struggling with feeling like they don't fit in and those of us who used to be (and sometimes still are) the odd one out will feel a kinship with Kayla and be proud of her as she learns to stand up for herself.
Also sharing to the Spread the Kindness blog hop on Tuesday April 23, 2019.