The School for Good and Evil Review: Ever Afters and Never Afters
The School for Good and Evil: Movie Tie-In Edition (School for Good and Evil, 1) Paperback – August 30, 2022
THE SCHOOL FOR GOOD AND EVIL will soon be a major motion picture from Netflix—starring Academy Award winner Charlize Theron, Kerry Washington, Laurence Fishburne, Michelle Yeoh, Sofia Wylie, Sophie Anne Caruso, Jamie Flatters, Earl Cave, Kit Young, and many others!
The New York Times bestselling The School for Good and Evil series is an epic journey into a dazzling new world, where the only way out of a fairy tale is to live through one. Start here to follow Sophie, Agatha, and everyone at the school from the beginning!
Two best friends have been chosen to be students at the fabled School for Good and Evil, where ordinary boys and girls are trained to be fairy-tale heroes and villains. One will train for Good, one will become Evil’s new hope. Each thinks they know where they belong, but when they are swept into the Endless Woods, they’re switched to opposite schools. Together they’ll discover who they really are and what they are capable of because the only way out of a fairy tale . . . is to live through it.
Best friends Sophie and Agatha find themselves on opposing sides of an epic battle when they’ve swept away into an enchanted school where aspiring heroes and villains are trained to protect the balance between Good and Evil.
Based on the epic international best-selling series by Soman Chainani, THE SCHOOL FOR GOOD AND EVIL is directed by Paul Feig and stars Sophia Anne Caruso, Sofia Wylie, Kerry Washington, and Charlize Theron.
Also starring Laurence Fishburne, Michelle Yeoh, Jamie Flatters, Kit Young, Peter Serafinowicz, Rob Delaney, Mark Heap, Patti LuPone, and Rachel Bloom.
In 2013, author Soman Chainani released the first book in her revisionist fairy tale fantasy series, The School for Good and Evil. Sharing elements of both J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series and the musical book by Winnie Holzman for Wicked, The School for Good and Evil explores the black-and-white notions of good and evil under the roof of a magical school that teaches the next generation of both.
In director/writer Paul Feig’s very capable hands, the movie adaptation manages to succeed as a broad-scale mythology Bacchanalia and an intimate tale about the enduring power of deep friendship through unimaginable challenges. Glorious to look at and more surprising than expected in its storytelling, The School for Good and Evil is a romp that should have more chapters.
Chainani’s first book and the movie both serve as the origin story of two teen best friends from the fictional, rural village of Gavaldon. Fair-haired Sophie (Sophia Anne Caruso) is the Cinderella-esque dreamer who loves designing clothes and desperately wishes for something greater outside of her simple life.
Agatha (Sofia Wylie) is her hot mess best friend who doesn’t care what anyone thinks of her and is relatively content just spending time with Sophie and lurking outside the attention of their nasty neighbors who hate them both. But that all changes when Sophie gets wind of The School for Good and Evil, a venerable and secret institute that trains the next generation of fairy tale heroes and villains, and sometimes recruits worthy outsiders to join their ranks.
Desperate to be one of those worthy “readers,” Sophie makes a wish to be recruited and her wish is granted. Scooped up by a frightening skeletal bird known as a stymph, Agatha gets dragged along too when she tries to save Sophie from its clutches. Soon, the two are deposited in their assigned schools: Sophie on the “Nevers” side which caters to evil, and Agatha on the “Evers” side which cultivates the most worthy students towards earning their heroic stories.
Upset at being separated and sorted into the “wrong” schools, Sophie and Agatha have to navigate the toxic personalities of the students around them, their unsympathetic respective school mistresses – Lady Lesso (Charlize Theron) of the Nevers and Prof.
Clarissa Dovey (Kerry Washington) of the Evers – and the whims of their flighty Schoolmaster (Laurence Fishburne). From there, the friends connect on the down low to figure out their predicament. Sophie wants in with the Evers, but Agatha just wants to go home. However, she’s willing to facilitate the path to Sophie’s dream, helping her win true love’s kiss from the campus shining star, and son of King Arthur, Prince Tedros (Jamie Flatters).
From there, Feig and his production team introduce us, and the girls, to the expansive grounds of the school where we meet plenty of bizarre creatures like very bitey posey flowers, pumpkin-faced scarecrows that become Reapers at night, tattoos that turn into fiery dragons, and creepy cherubs with functional arrows who act as school guards.
There’s plenty to soak up in every scene so the visual effects are plentiful but on average, very well done. In early establishing scenes, there’s maybe too much visual pilfering from the overall look and silhouette of Hogwarts from the Harry Potter films but as the binary looks of the two houses assert themselves aesthetically, it lessens.
There’s also no shortage of big sequences and scenarios thrown at us, from magic trials to two balls in each house so The School for Good and Evil never gets boring. Feig packs the two-hour and 27-minute runtime well so it flies by without feeling overstuffed with just bells and whistles.
Download the movie here: