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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Strong anti-bullying messages. Promotes empathy, uses teachings from the Bible to address some of the challenges of being a teenager.
Positive Role Models
Two main characters learn to empathize with others, "lead with love." Katie learns that her bullying has hurt many people. Cassandra learns that popularity isn't all that it's cracked up to be, learns gratitude for her family and her talents. Both learn and encourage others to see beyond the shallowness of high school cliques, to value people for who they are instead.
Violence & Scariness
Bullying in high school and on social media. One character likes to make fun of less popular girls by filming them in the school hallways while making fun of their fashion sense, posting the videos on social media. She sets up a trap where milk falls on a character's head when she walks under a door, leading to another viral video and tears from the victim. Two girls get in a fight at a party, falling to the ground and smearing cake on each other while other kids laugh and film it on their smartphones.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Switched is a faith-based coming-of-age movie in which a popular "mean girl" switches bodies with a girl that she bullies. The movie communicates positive messages such as empathy and gratitude. It also promotes acceptance of others and moving beyond the separations of high school cliquedom. The popular "mean girl" is a model who has built her "brand" on making viral videos that make fun of other students. She sets up a trap for the other lead character, which humiliates the other girl. After the two lead characters have "switched" places, they get into a pushing-and-shoving fight at a party, resulting in smeared cake over each other's faces. The movie, while not shying away from God and the Bible, is less heavy-handed than other faith-based movies. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
This movie uses perhaps the most overdone plot in all of cinema, the "ol' switcheroo," to communicate positive messages on empathy, acceptance, and anti-bullying. Switched is a faith-based coming-of-age movie that communicates its message with a relatively less heavy hand than other faith-based movies do when their characters discuss faith and spirituality. The acting is also way above the curve of the average faith-based movie. It's an earnest movie that makes a worthy effort at trying to get beyond the stereotypical characters of teen movies to really understand the nature of bullying.
That said, the ol' switcheroo is the tritest of clichés, no matter what positive messages are being communicated. The lead characters are themselves clichés: the "mean girl" and the "nerd who wears glasses." Aside from the mother of one of the lead characters, the adults, if they exist at all, are little more than an attempt at comic relief, if not complicit actors in the cyberbullying. For instance, the parents of the popular girl (played by Denise Richards and John Schneider) quit their jobs to "manage" their daughter's "brand," and don't have a problem with their daughter's social media cruelty as long as it generates millions of views, likes, hearts, smiley faces, etc. While clearly a sincere attempt to promote worthwhile and much-needed virtues like empathy, this overused storyline isn't the best way to communicate it.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.