A Girl Like Her

Movie review by
Sandie Angulo Chen, Common Sense Media
A Girl Like Her Movie Poster Image
Bullying drama is disturbing but should spark conversation.
  • PG-13
  • 2015
  • 94 minutes
 Parents recommendPopular with kids

Parents say

age 13+
Based on 8 reviews

Kids say

age 13+
Based on 19 reviews

We think this movie stands out for:

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Makes the powerful, important point that the issue of bullying is pervasive and can often affect kids to the point of suicide. Explores the topic from both sides, showing how destructive it is and how difficult it can be for teens to admit that they or their friends are being bullied. By looking at both sides, the movie humanizes bullies and makes it clear that usually they're hurting, too, and don't know how to deal with their pain except by belittling others. The bullies are more likely to lie than to tell the truth about their role/guilt. Compassion and empathy are major themes.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Brian is a steadfast and wonderful friend to Jessica. He keeps her secret, but when she's in the hospital, he realizes it's time to break his promise and tell her parents the truth about her being bullied. Jessica's parents just want their daughter to get better; they don't blame Brian for promising not to tell anyone about her situation. Of all the characters in the movie, Avery goes through the biggest transformation; she ends up taking responsibility and realizing what she did was really wrong.

Violence

Attempted teen suicide (via pill overdose), plus disturbing scenes in the hospital of Jessica comatose and her parents weeping. Also an extended video of all the ways that Avery terrorized Jessica with threats, pranks, and insults. Avery and her friends yell at a girl who tries to use "their" bathroom in the school; they insult lots of people they don't find worthy.

Sex

Girls wear tight/revealing clothes and talk about guys.

Language

Some of the language is bleeped out at first, although it's obvious characters are saying "f--k," "bitch," etc. Other times the words are said without bleeping: "bitch," "bitches," "psycho," "whore," "stupid," "slut," "what the hell," "what the f--k," "douchebag." Also mean/threatening language and texts, like "loser," "everyone hates you," "just go die," "stupid ass," "you are f--king with the wrong girl," "Who picked out your outfit, your grandma? Oh that's right, your grandma is dead," and more.

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Prescription sleeping pills are taken during a suicide attempt.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that A Girl Like Her is a fictionalized documentary-style film about two teen girls: a high school sophomore who attempts suicide and the other 16-year-old who's revealed to be her bully. Unlike the actual documentary Bully, which followed several students across the country dealing with bullying, this movie looks at things from the bully's perspective -- after the victim is in the hospital. There's some strong language (most uses of words like "bitch" and "f--k" are bleeped, but "ass," "whore," "slut," "stupid," "douche," etc. aren't) and disturbing scenes of the attempted suicide, the bullying that led to it, and the hospitalized teen. The movie is uncomfortable and upsetting to watch at times, especially during the recorded footage of the constant insults, threats, and ridiculing that convinced the victim that her life wasn't worth living. But A Girl Like Her also provides a much-needed way to engage tweens and teens in thinking and talking about the subject of bullying (from either side) and how to stand up to it -- or at least inform someone about what's going on.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byBrittanyNicole93 June 1, 2016

As a bullied teen and now an adult....

I just watched the movie/documentary "A Girl Like Her." It was hard for me to watch, seeing as the girl it was about was the same age I was and in the... Continue reading
Adult Written byBoom3rdogparent June 13, 2016

Horrible

A girl tries to kill herself right at the beginning of the movie
Teen, 15 years old Written byBabyGirl666 May 23, 2016

i loved it.

i think there should be more parts to the documentary bc there is alot of suicide going on in todays time and i really enjoyed it. plus how is the documentary... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written bycv.viper.ihh March 15, 2016

What's the story?

A GIRL LIKE HER is a fictionalized documentary about bullying at South Brookdale High School. When sophomore Jessica Burns (Lexi Ainsworth) attempts suicide by swallowing her mother's sleeping pills and ends up comatose, the "documentarian" interviews teachers, administrators, and other students to figure out what went gone wrong. One name keeps popping up as a possible motivator for Jessica's depression: Avery Keller (Hunter King), whom many students recall being mean to Jessica. The filmmaker decides to follow Avery to tell her side of the story, but Avery denies she did anything besides occasionally joke around with Jessica ... until Jessica's best friend, Brian (Jimmy Bennett), reveals that he has video evidence of Avery's persistent threats and bullying.

Is it any good?

This is a no-frills dramatic portrayal of the devastating impact of bullying. A Girl Like Her doesn't show the overtly physical variety of bullying, but rather the emotionally abusive kind that girls seems to specialize in: harassing texts, non-stop insults, locker pranks, threatening language, and more. King is fabulously (and frighteningly) believable as queen-bee bully Avery, who has troubles at home and takes it out on her former friend, Jessica. She, like so many adolescents, is unable to admit -- even to herself -- that she played any part in Jessica's decision to attempt suicide.

For parents, it won't be easy to watch A Girl Like Her, because it's difficult not to project your own child in the role of the victim. But it's also the role of the bully that audiences should be willing to accept. Avery isn't 100% evil; she's capable of redemption, even if it takes literally watching evidence of what she'd done to make her acknowledge the ugly truth. But it's only by discussing and taking a look at these truths that the bullying epidemic can be defeated. Brian's role in helping Jessica keep quiet about Avery mistreating her is also debated, with Jessica's grieving parents thanking him for being a good friend even though he could have (and maybe should have) told an adult about the situation earlier. A Girl Like Her is one of those movies you have trouble forgetting, but that's the point; see it, talk about it, and hope there are no Jessicas or Averys in your family.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about why the issue of teen bullying is getting addressed more frequently in popular culture. Is bullying as widespread as A Girl Like Her makes it seem? What are ways you can help stand up to bullying? Bullying is often seen as physical abuse, but A Girl Like Her shows that words are just as powerful. Talk about the different ways that people can bully others; what has the most lasting impact?

  • Parents, talk to your kids about teen suicide. This is an incredibly tough topic, but one that needs to be addressed. What makes some people think that it's their only option? What impact does their decision have on their friends and family? Where can kids in despair turn for assistance?

  • How do the characters in A Girl Like Her demonstrate compassion and empathy? Why are these important character strengths?

  • In one scene, a father shows compassion for the actual bullies, who often need as much help as those being bullied. How does this movie portray the bully? Why do you think she bullied her former friend?

  • Brian is stuck between wanting to keep his promise to Jessica and needing to tell others about her situation. Do you think it would have made him a bad friend to tell others before things went so far? What's the message here for teens who have friends suffering from bullying?

Movie details

Character Strengths

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Themes & Topics

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