The Girl from Plainville
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The Girl from Plainville
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A Lot or a Little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that The Girl from Plainville is about a true case of a teen who was convicted of involuntary manslaughter after a court decided her texts to her boyfriend convinced him to commit suicide. The suicide is reenacted on-screen: We see a police officer approach a car, open the doors, and then call for the medical examiner. We see a generator in the car's back seat, and briefly see Conrad's body, though he looks asleep. Talk of suicide is frequent; teens express a deep desire to die, and talk about ways they could die by suicide, as well as times they've tried to kill themselves previously. Characters self-harm; we see marks on a character's body from cutting, and another talks about restricting their food intake. One character encourages another to kill himself in dramatic drawn-out scenes in which characters texting appear to be talking together on-screen. Talk of romance, dating, and boyfriends and girlfriends is frequent: We see characters holding hands romantically and kissing briefly; two characters have sex with rhythmic motions and groans but remain fully covered by clothing. Cursing includes "f--k," "f---ing," "s--t," "hell," and "damn." Though the facts of this case are sensational, this series is sensitive and affecting.
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What's the Story?
Family and friends of Mattepoisett, Massachusetts, teen Conrad Roy III were shocked when he was found dead from suicide in 2014, and their horror deepened when it was discovered that his girlfriend, Michelle Carter, had encouraged him to go ahead with his terrible plan. Starring Elle Fanning as Carter, Colton Ryan as Roy, and Chloe Sevigny as Roy's mother, Lynn Roy, THE GIRL FROM PLAINVILLE examines how the interaction between Carter and Roy resulted in a tragic death.
Is It Any Good?
Elle Fanning, Colton Ryan, and Chloe Sevigny elevate a story that read tawdry in social media headlines but emerges here as a sensitive portrait of two teens who encouraged each other's worst impulses. On-screen, as in life, Michelle and Conrad meet in person only a few times after striking up a quick attraction while on separate family vacations in Florida. But in the scenes where they're together, the two have intense chemistry, and we can see and feel the relief both take in finding someone like-minded at last, someone too weird to fit in with the kids at school but who longs for a connection; someone, anyone, to care.
The pair's relationship was mostly conducted over text, which can be hard to visualize. The Girl from Plainville wisely takes the tack of having a vision of Michelle show up wherever Conrad happens to be while the two are texting, often clad in the baggy pink T-shirt she wore one of the few times he saw her, carrying on intense conversations about life, and love, and the way other people disappoint them. These scenes are interspersed with moments from Michelle and Conrad's lives, and with the timeline of events after Conrad's death, when Michelle weirdly inserts herself into the Roy family's grieving even as detectives gather evidence of her part in the suicide. It all comes off as affecting even as the case itself is sensational -- a surprisingly nuanced take on a terribly public tragedy.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
What do you need to know about the real-life story behind The Girl from Plainville to watch? Is the show interesting without knowing about Michelle Carter's story going in? What did this TV show change about the real story? How successful are these changes in making the story more compelling?
What's interesting or notable about the Michelle Carter story? Why is it worth making a TV series out of it? How is it relevant to contemporary culture? What impact did this story leave on the world? Is this show likely to further that impact?
Movies and TV shows about real people often try to dress and style actors to look like the people they are portraying. Did The Girl from Plainville take this tack? How successful is it? Does the similarity add to or detract from this drama's narrative?
- Premiere date: March 29, 2022
- Cast: Elle Fanning, Chloe Sevigny, Aya Cash
- Network: Hulu
- Genre: Drama
- TV rating: TV-MA
- Last updated: March 17, 2023
Our Editors Recommend
Intriguing, imperfect story circles around true-life crime.
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13 Reasons Why
Disturbing book adaptation sheds light on teen suicide.
For kids who love true crime and drama
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