School For Good And Evil Essay

Good vs evil research paper.

The world can make or break us, but it depends on if they let society change your way of life and being. Innocence is a trait that we are born with they do not have enough knowledge to act in evil. It is the way people are raised, society and even human nature that enhances a negative toll on people.

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One of the oldest dilemmas in philosophy is also one of the greatest threats to Christian theology. The problem of evil simultaneously perplexes the world’s greatest minds and yet remains palpably close to the hearts of the most common people. If God is good, then why is there evil? The following essay describes the problem of evil in relation to God, examines Christian responses to the problem, and concludes the existence of God and the existence of evil are fully compatible.

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The world as we know it is constantly moving and changing; events occur that can affect people’s lives even if they are thousands of miles away. Whether or not these happenings are good or evil can shape one’s mindset and outlook on the actions they take themselves. Both have distinct strengths and weaknesses; however, the real question one must ask is which side of the spectrum is more capable of influencing humanity. In Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde written by Robert Louis Stevenson, a wealthy and well-respected doctor by the name of Henry Jekyll, who believes that man is not one but two separate people, constructs a potion which unearths his inner evil (Mr. Edward Hyde), and in the end is engulfed by the strength of his malevolent persona.

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critique essay about the school for good and evil

10-year-old Kavi K tells us about Soman Chainani’s new fairy-tale adventure

critique essay about the school for good and evil

“Kids are always told to write a lot and just keep writing, but I think that’s silly. I’d much rather them write one thing over and over until it’s perfect. What I tell kids is, when you finish a story, read it to your friends, read it to your parents, read it to your dog. And get suggestions, feedback, emotional reaction, and keep rewriting it. That’s the only way to get better. No one gets better by writing endless first drafts.”

10-year-old writer Kavi K offers his take on Chainani’s bestselling fairy-tale adventure:

In The School for Good and Evil , Agatha and Sophie live in Gavaldon, a town that believes in fairy tales. They believe that someone entitled “The School Master” has been kidnapping two children—one beautiful and good, the other an outcast at birth—each year for 200 years to take to the School for Good and Evil, where kids are trained to be either a villain or a hero in a fairy tale. Sophie, a young girl that cares mostly about beauty, wishes to be whisked away so that she can live out her “Happily Ever After;” whereas Agatha, a grouchy, “ugly” girl, does not believe in the school, nor wants to be taken there. Yet, they are both kidnapped. Sophie expects herself to be in the school for Good, and anticipates Agatha to be put in Evil. The two end up getting switched: Agatha is dropped in Good and Sophie in Evil. While both think in the beginning that it was a mistake, they slowly start to question their original prediction.

By the end of The School for Good and Evil , it becomes more recognizable why the two were placed in schools they didn’t expect to be in. They meet Tedros, King Arthur’s son, and while they both want him to kiss Sophie so the two can go home, he finds himself attracted to Agatha instead. He then asks Agatha to the Snow Ball, the school’s most awaited event of the year. Driven by jealousy and the need for vengeance, Sophie finds that her fairy tale’s nemesis is not Tedros, but Agatha. Teamed up with Hester, Anadil, and Dot, her roommates, Sophie goes rogue, and crashes the Circus of Talents, where every student, both Good and Evil, displays his or her best talents. After casting a ‘Petrification Spell’ on the teachers that makes them stay in whatever position they’re in until the caster takes it off, Sophie destroys Good, trying to kill Agatha. The conflict gets so tense that even the School Master gets involved and there are many exciting and shocking things, until the end.

I highly enjoyed this book, though it is directed mainly toward female readers. It is a book that has you turning to the next page constantly once you start reading. One of my favorite parts of the book was the way both Agatha and Sophie changed, and how the other characters developed in the story. Overall, the book was very good, and I highly recommend it to you.

critique essay about the school for good and evil

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School For Good And Evil Essay

critique essay about the school for good and evil

Show More School for Good and Evil The main character, Sophie has changed throughout the book. In the beginning of the book,Sophie felt angered and sad due to the fact her mother died and her father doesn’t love her because she is not a boy.When her father Stefan decides to court a widow named Honora’s, Sophie suspects he does this to inherit Honora’s two boys.However, by the middle of the book,Sophie tried to convince everyone including the school master that she belong in The School for Good not The School for Evil and she also tried to get out of the School with Agatha.Her character showed determination.Sophie started to make everyone believed that she belong in the school of good instead the school of evil.In the End of the book Sophie turned Evil due to the disappointment and wanting revange.Not so long after Sophie tried to get into The School of Good her evil side shown in many of her classes.Such as when she got high marks through demonstrating pure evil by causing a golden goose to give up its power to lay golden eggs, and even killed a torturing beast because he cut her hair. All of these prove that Sophie belongs to the School of Evil not the School of Good. Theme: …show more content… The reader learned throughout the story to Never Give and there’s alway a way out for every problem.Sophie and Agatha tried to escape the out of school together.They gave up a lots of time but then they kept trying over and over again and in the end they got out of the school and went back to living their normal life. By reading this, anyone will be able to think that there will be a way out in every single problem in

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The Literary Omnivore

Review: the school for good and evil.

The School for Good and Evil by Soman Chainani


At work, I’m often in the young adult/middle grade alcove, shelving. (“I’m always in here, moving books slightly to the left,” isn’t just an Eddie Izzard punchline, it’s my life.) As you can imagine, it can be a messy section (although nothing matches the mountains of unshelved books left on the big table in our children’s room for me), so there’s plenty of work for me to do. While we’re forbidden to read on the floor, I do flip through the odd book or two before I put them where they belong, which is how I found The School for Good and Evil . Intrigued by the cover art (because I will never learn), I found myself reading a passage wherein a character is taunted by fairy tale characters for being a Reader.

As an aficionado of the art of adaptation (or, in more common parlance, a fan), the faintest whiff of metafiction has me bounding over the hills towards it, baying like a hound. I enjoy fairy tale adaptations, obviously, but this was one that, apparently, explicitly tackled the fourth wall. I see this so rarely in children’s fiction, let alone middle grade fiction, that I just had to investigate.

Darkly muttering Agatha and threateningly perky Sophie are, against all odds, best friends in the small town of Gavaldon. Every year, two children from Gavaldon are kidnapped, whisked away to the titular School for Good and Evil, and turn up in fairy tales. Parents do everything they can to protect their children, but Sophie is determined to rise above village life and become the princess she was born to be. When the kidnappers come, Sophie goes with them—and so does Agatha, determined to protect her best and only friend. Once at the school, however, Agatha is sent to the School for Good and Sophie to the School for Evil. Infuriated, Sophie is sure this is a mistake—but everything they do to prove it wrong only proves it right.

The School for Good and Evil starts off promisingly enough—it’s a story about two best friends, one of whom is an ambitious femme who will stop at absolutely nothing to get what she wants. As someone who shades hard femme, I was really intrigued by Sophie. Femmes so rarely get to be honestly threatening in mainstream media, so I was looking forward to the story about a little princess who realizes that she’s destined to be the greatest Evil Queen of them all.

But as soon as Sophie begins to succeed at being Evil, she becomes erratic, jealous, and obsessed with Tehros, the son of King Arthur, since she’s convinced that he is her One True Love. Since villains can’t love, getting a True Love’s Kiss from him will prove that she’s not Evil and that they deserve to either switch schools or to go home. (Sophie and Agatha are not terribly concerned about proving there’s a middle ground; Agatha just wants to go home and Sophie wants her fairy tale ending at any cost.) While Chainani feints towards actually deconstructing a system that forces girls to rely on boys for protection, it usually just ends up with Agatha being angry at her classmates for being so shallow. (And for a novel that talks about inner beauty, apparently doing evil deeds literally makes you ugly. Attractive villainesses from fairy tales are ignored.)

The humor is too broad and occasionally shades towards cruelty—the sweetest Evil character, Dot, is often mocked for her size. The worldbuilding is pretty wobbly as well. While Gavaldon is presented as a pretty typical European fantasy town, the School for Good and Evil feels… well, it feels like Ever After High, which, like Monster High before it, gets a lot of mileage out of overlaying a theme over contemporary high school and generating as many puns as humanly possible. (We’ll get to Ever After High: Storybook of Legends soon, since it’s another fairy tale retelling that explicitly questions the fourth wall.) That’s a fine tact to take, if you keep it consistent throughout, but the School of Good and Evil wants to be both silly and epic, and never manages to make these two elements work into a cohesive whole. It’s quite repetitive, slapstick, and remarkably violent. I mean, Sophie murders someone during the novel, and this doesn’t seem to be a big deal for her or the narratives—either the fairy tale narrative she’s found herself in or the actual narrative of the novel.

And yet, there are one or two interesting elements here. The Reader exchange I stumbled onto at work is part of a larger story that is, unfortunately, mostly implied here. The School for Good and Evil is the first installment in a trilogy, which will surprise no one. But there are Readers and then there are the fairy tale characters themselves, and Gavaldon appears to be the only village of Readers left. As Readers, which is to say as those who can see outside of the system (no matter how much Sophie subscribes to it), Agatha and Sophie have the power to subvert the rigid roles assigned to not only Good and Evil, but women and men. And that’s how the novel ends—Agatha and Sophie finally subvert the fairy tale they’re in by kissing. Since the system doesn’t allow for any queerness, be it girls kissing or Good and Evil being friends, they’re immediately sent home (via magic, not their teachers).

I sincerely doubt Chainani is going to maintain this thread throughout the series, even if he does set up True Love’s Kiss as the only way out of the fairy tale and, therefore, implies that that is what that kiss was. The two immediately reaffirm that they’re friends afterwards and the cover to the next book features Tehros. But a queer True Something’s Kiss in middle grade fiction is a queer True Something’s Kiss in middle grade fiction, you know? A proper queer romance would be preferred, of course, but every step helps. (Gosh, I can’t even think of any middle-grade fiction that features queer characters. Suggestions? Recommendations? Fix this gap in my knowledge!)

Bottom line: The School for Good and Evil ’s wonky worldbuilding, too broad humor, repetitive narrative, and astonishing violence make it a clunker, but Chainani at least starts poking at the fourth wall and ends up queering True Love’s Kiss along the way. Not recommended.

I rented this book from the public library.

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5 thoughts on “ review: the school for good and evil ”.

Pingback: Review: Ever After High — The Storybook of Legends | The Literary Omnivore

I really wish I saw your review before I read this – I got it while it was on sale (thank goodness) because of the a) cover and b) its appearance on some year end best of lists. All I can say is that I have no idea what book those people read, because sheesh, what a total clunker and waste of time. Well, at least I am not at all tempted by the next book.

The next one looks even worse. I’m sorry I wasn’t able to save you from reading it!

I thought it was fine but don’t like the ending

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critique essay about the school for good and evil

Review: ‘The School for Good and Evil’

A tale where stunning visuals may counter lacking characterization and dialogue.

Soman Chainani’s first book debuted in 2013, portraying the beloved sisterly friendship between Agatha and Sophie in “The School for Good and Evil.” A tale that spans eight books, including two prequels, readers loved this alternative to other fairy tale stories for its parody of binary, reductive characterization that is frequently used by the classics (namely, Disney).

Now a Netflix film, it’s no surprise that fans of the books hold many critiques of it. The film follows the original narrative: two friends, both outcasts in their village, get kidnapped one night and whisked away to another realm where fairy tales are created, lived out, and taught — at the School for Good and Evil.

Only a peek at the trailer will show viewers the film’s absolutely stunning visuals, and we wouldn’t expect anything less from Netflix. For childhood fantasy-lovers, the movie’s masterful effects, invocative modern soundtrack, and grand costuming may reignite that inner teenager and a sense of nostalgia.

However, “The School for Good and Evil” struggles to fully develop its characters, and as a film written for a much younger audience, the dialogue may yield cringes in an older audience. Personally, I found it easy to adapt as the film went on, but I learned that for some, it may be too much to warrant finishing the movie.

A popular opinion that I, too, share is that using film as the main medium to tell a rather extensive series constrained both the script and the characterization of our beloved Sophie and Agatha. There’s too much happening and not enough time for reflection, which a TV series could have otherwise allowed.

Personally, I enjoyed the development and critique of Sophie’s toxic femininity in the film, but the overall message remains limited — a trend that follows for the film’s critique of old Disney tropes, leaving more to be desired on the issues of “beautiful versus ugly” and “good versus evil.” Where it calls out the shallowness of these binary human constructs, it also affirms them through its main characters.

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Overall, I still greatly enjoyed watching “The School for Good and Evil.” While I won’t be writing an analytical essay on it anytime soon, it breathed one of my favorite childhood books back to life and reminded me of why I held it so dearly: the familial intensity of Sophie and Agatha’s relationship reflects the one I hold for my own family. It’s a complex type of love when we so strongly know our loved ones’ flaws and mistakes, but can hold their strengths and achievements at the same time.

I can thankfully say that that message resonates as deeply with me now after watching “The School for Good and Evil” as it did when I first read the books in middle school.

“The School for Good and Evil” released Oct. 19 and is now available to stream on Netflix .

Reach Design Editor Tatum Lindquist at [email protected] . Twitter: @TatumLindquist

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critique essay about the school for good and evil

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“Harry Potter” meets “Descendants” with a dash of “Romeo and Juliet” in “The School for Good and Evil.” And yes, it is as overstuffed as that sounds.

This massive, magical adventure is also way too long at 2 ½ hours, but rarely in that running time do we see any glimmers of the kind of singular filmmaking wizardry that usually makes Paul Feig ’s movies so engaging. He’s once again telling a story of female friendship, with all its highs and lows and particular complications, as he has with “ Bridesmaids ,” “ The Heat ,” and “ A Simple Favor .” And, of course, the clothes are dazzling; the famously sartorial director would never skimp in that department.

But all of these potentially effective elements—as well as a stellar cast that includes Charlize Theron , Kerry Washington , and Michelle Yeoh —get swallowed up by the overwhelming reliance on CGI-infused action sequences. They’re both empty and endless, and too often leave you wondering what’s going on and why we should bother.

Based on the best-selling children’s book series by Soman Chainani , “The School for Good and Evil” focuses on two extremely different teenage best friends looking out for each other in a harsh, fairy-tale land. The petite Sophie ( Sophia Anne Caruso ) is a blonde Cinderella figure with dreams of becoming a princess; she escapes the doldrums of daily life with a mean stepmother by talking to woodland creatures and designing flouncy gowns. The much taller, wild-haired Agatha ( Sofia Wylie ) lives with her mom in a cottage in the forest, where they concoct potions together; she has a hairless cat named Reaper and dresses in all black, so she must be a witch. These simple, early moments when the girls enjoy their warm, humorous bond—with the help of richly honeyed narration from Cate Blanchett —are the film’s strongest. The dialogue in the script from co-writers David Magee and Feig is snarky in a way that’s both anachronistic and au courant, but Caruso and Wylie make their friendship feel true.

But one day, a giant bird picks them up and swoops them away to The School for Good and Evil: side-by-side castles connected by a bridge where the next generation of magical young people learns to hone their skills. As we see in the film’s prelude, a pair of brothers established this balance long ago; neither side can win completely, and this enchanted institution ensures that. Naturally, Sophie assumes she’ll end up on the sunny side of the divide, while Agatha will go to the structure shrouded in fog. But when the bird drops Sophie on the evil side and Agatha on the good side, they figure it must have been a mistake and struggle to switch places. In no time, though, their true natures reveal themselves—the ones they’d buried beneath the hair and clothes they’d chosen and the labels society had pinned on them.

This is a potentially interesting idea, and a great opportunity for kids to learn about the insidious power of prejudice. And the production design on both sides is enjoyably over-the-top in its contrasting extremes: the School for Good essentially looks like a wedding cake you could live inside, while the School for Evil is like a goth version of Hogwarts. Costume designer Renee Ehrlich Kalfus —who also designed the clothes in Feig’s sharp and sexy “A Simple Favor”—makes the dresses these young women wear not just distinct in vivid and inspired ways, but they evolve accordingly as Agatha and Sophie tap into their authentic selves.

Again, lots of intriguing pieces here, and we haven’t even mentioned Washington as the perpetually perky head of the good school, with Theron vamping as the evil school’s leader. There’s just so much going on in this movie in terms of plot and visual effects that supporting players like Yeoh and Laurence Fishburne get frustratingly little to do. The film also squanders the talents of Rob Delaney and Patti LuPone early on in blink-and-you’ll-miss-them roles. The script consistently gets bogged down in world-building exposition and flashbacks—the mythology of how this place works is dense and not terribly compelling—and there are so many students on both sides of the bridge that there’s little opportunity for characterization. Chainani wrote a series of these books, where he had much more time and space to expand. Here, fellow students are whittled down to a single trait, and—as in the Disney “Descendants” movies—most are the offspring of famous cultural figures, like Prince Charming, King Arthur, and the Sheriff of Nottingham. A forbidden romance between Sophie and the hunky Tedros ( Jamie Flatters ) is just one more subplot in a film full of them. And a dizzying array of twists awaits as the movie hurtles toward its conclusion.

Somewhere beneath all the noise and mayhem—the hurled fireballs, swirls of blood and duels with glowing swords choreographed to Billie Eilish and Britney Spears tunes—“The School for Good and Evil” aims to upend familiar tropes and unearth some useful truths. The popular clique at the good school is packed with mean girls; the weirdoes and misfits at the bad school are actually loyal and kind. Being ambitious isn’t necessarily a negative thing, while going along to get along might not be the right path, either. But with a series of endings that drags out the film’s already significant length, it takes a while for anyone to achieve any sort of happily ever after.

On Netflix today.

Christy Lemire

Christy Lemire

Christy Lemire is a longtime film critic who has written for since 2013. Before that, she was the film critic for The Associated Press for nearly 15 years and co-hosted the public television series "Ebert Presents At the Movies" opposite Ignatiy Vishnevetsky, with Roger Ebert serving as managing editor. Read her answers to our Movie Love Questionnaire here .

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Film credits.

The School for Good and Evil movie poster

The School for Good and Evil (2022)

Rated PG-13 for violence and action, and some frightening images.

146 minutes

Sophia Anne Caruso as Sophie

Sofia Wylie as Agatha

Laurence Fishburne as The Schoolmaster

Michelle Yeoh as Professor Anemone

Jamie Flatters as Tedros

Kit Young as Rafal

Rachel Bloom as Honora

Peter Serafinowicz as Yuba

Kerry Washington as Professor Dovey

Charlize Theron as Lady Lesso

Earl Cave as Hort

Patti Lupone as Mrs. Deauville

Cate Blanchett as Narrator (voice)

Ali Khan as Chaddick

Writer (based on the book by)


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‘The School for Good and Evil’ Review: Ever Afters and Never Afters

Two best friends have princess dreams and witchy nightmares in this adaptation of Soman Chainani’s book series.

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Sophia Anne Caruso, left, and Sofia Wylie in “The School for Good and Evil.”

By Maya Phillips

Light versus dark. Hero versus villain. Good versus evil. Sound familiar? It should — it’s perhaps the most basic motif, where nearly all stories begin, from religions to myths, fairy tales to blockbusters.

So what Netflix’s “The School for Good and Evil” attempts — to draw from and pervert cookie-cutter hero and villain stories in a novel way — is a task so monumental that it can’t measure up. The film, adapted from the young adult book series by Soman Chainani and directed by Paul Feig, is a mess of contradictions: a muddle of clichés and inconsistencies with just enough charm and cleverness to keep you watching.

Two best friends, Sophie (Sophia Anne Caruso) and Agatha (Sofia Wylie), are the adolescent outcasts of a quaint Arthurian-style town named Gavaldon: Sophie dreams of a glamorous life as a princess and Agatha seems to channel Sabrina the teenage witch. When Sophie makes a desperate wish to escape her provincial surroundings, she and Agatha are transported to a school for storybook heroes and villains. The problem is that they’re sorted into opposite houses: Despite her fantasies of ball gowns and princes, Sophie is cast in the gloomy halls of the evildoers, and Agatha, with her witchy name and affinity for black clothes, is stuck in the cotton-candy-pink halls of the princesses.

Sophie aims to prove that she’s really meant to be a princess, but in the process is seduced by a greater evil; and Agatha, seeing the maniacal plots afoot, tries to save Sophie and return them home.

In many ways “The School for Good and Evil” is cringe-worthy: cheesy special effects; blatant telegraphing of plot points; crude world-building and scant character development; cloyingly oversaturated, superficially glossy cinematography and precious direction; ridiculous action (fireballs kicked like soccer balls, weaponized hot chocolate), set to a soundtrack of teenage-girl angst (Billie Eilish, Olivia Rodrigo).

However, Wylie’s performance as Agatha is sharp and modern, and performances by other big names (Charlize Theron, Michelle Yeoh, Laurence Fishburne and a less impressive Kerry Washington) give weight to the flimsier moments in the script. And the film has immaculate style, from its ornate hair and makeup to its elaborate costumes, even its fights: The choreography during a sprawling battle sequence deftly weaves the chaotic hodgepodge of visuals into a technically impressive feat.

There’s the sense that underneath its swordplay the film is reaching toward a deeper exploration of questions like, is there such a thing as fate? Do we each have a fundamentally fixed self? How have our terms of right and wrong, good and bad, changed? To that end the film often gets meta in the cheekiest ways, whether it’s Agatha snapping to the voice-over narration (by Cate Blanchett), “You know we hear you narrating, weirdo,” to Sophie dismissing a character with the quip, “The protagonists are speaking.” But the film doesn’t have the space to expand all of its ideas and gracefully unfold its plot, which is full of so many narrative twists and reversals that “The School for Good and Evil” equates to a whole TV season untidily packed into a feature film.

That doesn’t mean I wouldn’t let this story, as flawed as it is, take me back to this Hogwarts-esque school of powerful sorcery and brave feats; if only the film could fully execute at least half of its ambitions, then that would be a story with impressive power.

The School for Good and Evil Rated PG-13 for mean-girl jeers and chocolate attacks. Running time: 2 hours 27 minutes. Watch on Netflix.

critique essay about the school for good and evil

“The School For Good And Evil” Shows Ups, Downs & In-Betweens

“the school for good and evil” reminds us of the gray area.

There is a surplus of Halloween content out there—and we aren’t complaining. Some are gruesome, others are freaky, and some send us a clear message while dabbling in the “horror” genre. Netflix’s recent The School For Good And Evil belongs in the latter.

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The School For Good And Evil tells the story of two friends, Sophie and Agatha, who live in the rather dreary village of Gavaldon. Sophie is beautiful; exactly how you’d imagine a princess to look: petite, blonde, knows how to smile. Agatha is the opposite; the villagers call her a witch and she has unruly hair.

When Sophie takes it upon herself to get out of Gavaldon, she writes a letter to The School For Good And Evil, begging them to take her as a student. Her wish is granted—and Agatha gets dragged in the mess. But things take an uncertain turn as Sophie is sent to the School For Evil and Agatha is dropped at The School For Good.

Eventually, we find out in The School For Good And Evil , that someone with Blood Magic has been running the entire show.

So let me talk about these girls; Sophie first.

Sophie looks like the epitome of the princess we all grew up watching. She is hounded by her step-mother, dresses in rags that she sewed together herself. Her face is pleasing, her hair was long and as fair as her skin. She thinks she’s a shoo-in for The School For Good. And when she gets dropped in front of the dark façade of the “wrong school,” she fights. Sophie shouldn’t be there—until she is.

In time, Sophie begins to run the school. She welcomes her dark powers and is enveloped into the evil that was always inside her. Her selfishness and need to belong somewhere force her into it. For once, she’s doing something and being someone.

  View this post on Instagram   A post shared by The School for Good and Evil (@theschoolforgoodandevilmovie)

And then there is Agatha…who is honestly, a little boring. She wants nothing more than for her and Sophie to go back to Gavaldon, but because she is a good friend , she wants Sophie to get what her heart desires. Agatha sticks to her guns and stays on the straight path—with a little romantic detour—and tells the powers that be that there is no such thing as strictly good and strictly evil . What a revelation.

But the real message that I loved came from Professor Anemone, the teacher of beauty who failed Agatha for not knowing how to smile. There’s a brief but powerful moment where she questions when good started to equate to beauty, and when beauty became the be-all and end-all of…everything. Thank you, Michelle Yeoh.

Because isn’t that what the film really questions? As much as we know that everyone has good and evil inside of them, didn’t we all assume their roles based on how the characters looked? Shame on us.

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The mismatched destinies of Sophie and Agatha isn’t exactly unexpected, but it does drive one clear point across: that good and evil aren’t black and white. Beauty doesn’t mean a heart of gold, and unruly hair (because honestly, Agatha is already beautiful) doesn’t make you a witch.

The School For Good And Evil is one of those films you watch for the sake of watching it, but you don’t regret making the decision. It’s not going to win any awards or change the course of the entertainment industry, but it will entertain you.

Art Matthew Ian Fetalver

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Monday, July 6, 2020

Review: the school for good and evil by soman chainani.

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