Parents' Guide to

Jessica Darling's It List

By Renee Longstreet, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 10+

Uneven junior high coming-of-age tale has comic stereotypes.

Movie NR 2016 79 minutes
Jessica Darling's It List Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 9+

Based on 8 parent reviews

age 12+


Don't think appropriate for 11 yrs or younger. Talks about boyfriends etc...
1 person found this helpful.
age 9+

Predictable popularity

So, yes. Jessica Darling's It List is something we've all seen before. Nerdy 7th Grader feels pressured to be popular by her friends, her sister and her sort of awful mother. In the end, she of course learns that she will like her life, and the kinds of friends she makes better, if she just acts like herself. **Some Spoilers** The positives: the dialogue and some of the situations (the school mascot drama, the competing cheer teams) are going to be fresh enough to impress it's tween audience, and not completely make parents gag. Plus, I felt they were all pretty accurate depictions of both my own, and my daughter's junior high experience. For, what is the 7th Grade, if not a cheesy direct-to-film dramedy? I really liked how Jessica recognized that her and her best friend Bridget were growing apart, and that it wasn't worth forcing their friendship to stay together. I also liked that the plot did not involve a "take down" of the vapid, popularity obsessed Sara and Manda. I knew (and know - because I'm the mom of a 12 year old) girls who are that transparent about their need to be popular. And the truth is, they don't need a slapstick comedic comeupppance. They just need some time to grow up, and hopefully people who love them and remind them of their better qualities. Bonus points for a girl with engineering aspirations taking shop class. The Downsides: The plot resolves a little to quickly to be realistic. And, like I said, if you are out of junior high, it's pretty predictable. But if you are out of junior high, this film is not for you. To discuss: Jessica's mother and older sister put so much emphasis on her looks. Her mother never really apologizes in the film. We talked about why parents might be like that. But my daughter - who is kinda like Jessica - really felt that she would feel like I valued her less if I focussed more on her appearance.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (8):
Kids say (36):

Cheerful earnestness, a few solid performances, and a thoughtful message don't save this adaptation from predictability, amateurish caricatures, and overall uneven direction and production values. In attempting to keep the spirited tone of the book's first-person narrative intact while trying too hard to be quirky, it's hard to know whether the movie fell victim to the director's conceptual ideas or to the limitations of its actors and budget. Still, the appeal and honesty of both Chloe East's Jessica and Emma Rayne Lyle's Bridget, as well as the subject matter and message, may be enough for middle grade and tween girls.

Movie Details

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