(Once again, I am trying to clean out my DVR. I recorded Girl Followed off of the Lifetime Movie Network on April 2nd, 2017.)
Poor Regan (Emma Fuhrmann)! She’s 14 years old and all she wants is to be as popular as her older sister, Taylor (Gianna LaPera), and her best friend, Sabine (Olivia Nikkanen), and for Austin (Jake Elliott) to like her. Taylor and Sabine managed to get boyfriends by sending them sexy pics so why can’t she do the same thing? Everyone else skips school, so why can’t she? Everyone else shoplifts so why is it such a big deal when she does it? As Regan points out, her parents (Heather McComb and Joey Lawrence) expect her to be so perfect that they always overreact to the least little mistake.
Of course, they would really freak out if they found out about Regan’s now boyfriend. Nate (Travis Caldwell) is handsome, charming, and he drives a really nice car. Even better, at least from my perspective, his parents own a really big house. (If you’ve been reading my reviews for a while, you are undoubtedly aware of how much I love the big houses that always show up in Lifetime movies.) Of course, there are some problems. For one thing, Nate is 22 years old. Nate has a tendency to be a little bit controlling. Nate works with Regan’s mother, at a clinic. (Hey, at least he’s in the medical field! Who doesn’t want to marry a doctor?)
Oh — and Nate’s also batshit insane. How insane is Nate? He’s insane enough to hack into Regan’s phone and send risqué pictures of her to everyone who works with her dad. He’s also insane enough to replace a patient’s chart, all in an attempt to make Regan’s mother look dangerously incompetent. And, of course, there’s the whole kidnapping thing. Nate has a sordid and dangerous history that Regan knows nothing about.
Girl Followed may sound like a typical Lifetime stalking film and, in many ways, it is. However, Girl Followed also has a surprisingly insightful and intelligent script. If anything, Nate and his issues are red herrings in the overall scheme of the film. Girl Followed is more concerned with Regan and her struggle to estabblish her identity in an increasingly complex world. Anyone who has ever been insecure or felt lost will be able to relate to what Regan’s going through and Emma Fuhrmann gives an excellent and empathetic performance in the role. She is especially strong in the scenes where she tentatively opens up to her therapist, admitting that — on a scale of one to ten — she considers herself to be a “two.”
Of course, I related to the character because, when I was her age, I used to act out in the exact same way. This movie features one of the most realistic shoplifting scenes that I’ve ever seen. When her mom steps up and declares that her daughter is not a shoplifter and shames anyone who would suggest otherwise, I cringed a little and not just because I knew that Regan actually was a shoplifter. It was a moment to which I could relate. Suddenly, I was fourteen years old again.
Girl Followed is definitely a better than average Lifetime film so keep an eye out for it.