Accused at 17

 
Melodramatic teen tragedy is full of mean-girl drama.
  • Review Date: August 2, 2011
  • Rated: NR
  • Genre: Drama
  • Release Year: 2011
  • Running Time: 90 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages

The movie demonstrates that mean-spirited pranks and dishonesty are never good ideas, and that sometimes being honest means making tough choices. Also, peer pressure is bad.

Positive role models

The three best friends at the heart of the story turn out to be not very good friends to each other. Two of them lie to the police and try to frame the third. The parents have very different reactions, as one mom goes to the police to tell the truth while another is more interested in lying to preserve her comfortable life.

Violence

Teens decide to dole out punishment through a cruel prank that leads to a pushing match that suddenly becomes a deadly attack. It’s intense to see, even though almost nothing is shown on-screen. There are also a few bitter arguments.

Sex

Two teens make out at a drunken party. It starts to get hot and heavy, and the scene ends as the girls starts to unbutton his pants.

Language

Some swearing, including "crap," "whore," "bitch," and "skank."

Consumerism

Some visible car brands: Toyota Prius, Jaguar.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Lots of drinking at a rowdy teen party. Some of the adults drink wine or other drinks at home. One high schooler mentions that he smoked pot.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this Lifetime movie focuses on a mean-spirited prank among teens that leads to an intense, but largely offscreen deadly encounter. There’s a good bit of teen and adult drinking and one couple fools around at a rowdy high school party. Expect some mild swearing ("bitch," "crap") and a few intense fight scenes.

What's the story?

When Bianca (Nicole Gale Anderson) learns that her boyfriend hooked up with Dory at a party, she and her best friends Fallyn and Sarah concoct a nasty lesson to punish the girl. But the plan shockingly takes an even worse turn, leaving Dory dead, and Bianca is suddenly ACCUSED AT 17, of murder. The three girls have conflicting stories and it's clear that someone isn't telling the truth -– can Bianca's mom (Cynthia Gibb) find out what really happened and save her daughter?

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

The story here is almost believable, as a plan to teach a teen a lesson goes awry with terrible consequences, and it offers valuable lessons in honesty and in how bad choices can lead to even worse choices. But the plot is overly dramatic, the acting is stiff, and the characters are thinly drawn. Bianca’s pal Fallyn (Janet Montgomery) in particular is hard to fathom as BFF in one scene, chilling sociopath in another. And Fallyn’s mom is a caricature of a spoiled lady-who-lunches, belittling her husband and quick to lie when the stakes are high and her comfortable life is threatened (usually with a stiff drink nearby).

Though the message of this film is important, Accused at 17 is tedious and preachy.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about pranks. What do you think about the prank that Bianca and her friends plan? How did the encounter go awry? Is this a realistic story?

  • What do you think about the way the two mothers are portrayed in this film? Which one are you supposed to sympathize with and why? Do these women represent stereotypes?

  • Talk to your teens about high school relationships and the intrigue/drama that goes along with it. Is friendship drama just a part of teen life or can it be avoided? What are some good coping methods when teens encounter unwanted drama?

Movie details

DVD release date:August 2, 2011
Cast:Cynthia Gibb, Janet Montgomery, Nicole Gale Anderson
Director:Doug Campbell
Studio:Lifetime
Genre:Drama
Run time:90 minutes
MPAA rating:NR

This review of Accused at 17 was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

Find out more

Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

Find out more

About our buy links

When you use our links to make a purchase, Common Sense Media earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes. As a nonprofit organization, these funds help us continue providing independent, ad-free services for educators, families, and kids while the price you pay remains the same. Thank you for your support.
Read more

See more about how we rate and review.

About Our Rating System

The age displayed for each title is the minimum one for which it's developmentally appropriate. We recently updated all of our reviews to show only this age, rather than the multi-color "slider." Get more information about our ratings.

What parents and kids say

See all user reviews

Share your thoughts with other parents and kids Write a user review

A safe community is important to us. Please observe our guidelines

Adult Written bywonder dove February 8, 2013
age 15+
 

Too predictable.

This film was not the greatest because the acting was pretty bad and the story was way too predictable. The teen girls seemed very selfish, but I guess realistic in some ways. It's basically about a girl named Dory who steals another girl (Bianca's) boyfriend by sleeping with him at a party. When Bianca finds out, she's upset but her friends are even more upset. They plan to play a prank on Dory to teach her a lesson. They take her out to the middle of nowhere pretending to hook up with cute guys at another party, but after Bianca leaves upset, her friends accidentally kill Dory after knocking her out (the scene was pathetic and unbelievable). The friends eventually tell Bianca what happened and they all must try to act as normal as possible, as if nothing had happened until finally the truth unfolds. Bianca does not have a good relationship with her mother - lots of arguments. The violence isn't too bad but there are death scenes, some bullying, one of girls has an asthma problem and has an attack and dies. Language is your typical teenage name calling. Sexual content has a girl kissing a guy and unbuttoning his pants. A party scene with drinking and a boy mentions he smokes pot. I wouldn't recommend it to kids under 16.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Teen, 17 years old Written byAmericanplaya217 August 2, 2011
age 16+
 

Poll

Did our review help you make an informed decision about this product?

Digital Compass