(Hi there! So, as you may know because I’ve been talking about it on this site all year, I have got way too much stuff on my DVR. Seriously, I currently have 163 things recorded! I’ve decided that, on February 15th, I am going to erase everything on the DVR, regardless of whether I’ve watched it or not. So, that means that I’ve now have only have a month to clean out the DVR! Will I make it? Keep checking this site to find out! I recorded Story of a Girl off of Lifetime on July 23rd, 2017!)
Michael (Kevin Bacon) owns a pizza place in a small town. He’s just hired 16 year-old Deanna Lambert (Ryann Shane) to work for him over summer. Deanna shows up for her first day of work. Deanna apologizes for being late. Michael points out that he has no costumers so it doesn’t matter. Michael then introduces Deanna to his other employee, Tommy (Tyler Johnston). Deanna looks shocked. Tommy looks shocked.
“You two know each other?” Michael asks.
“In the biblical sense,” Tommy replies.
And so it goes from there…
Seriously, what was I doing on July 23rd that kept me from watching Story of a Girl? Was I watching a shark movie on SyFy? I do remember that Story of a Girl was very aggressively advertised in the days leading up to its premiere and I did actually mean to watch it. I’ve read the Sara Zarr penned book on which it was based and the commercials made it look fairly good. Add to that, it was directed by Kyra Sedgwick and co-starred Kevin Bacon and they seem like such a nice couple that I was naturally hoping it would be a good movie.
Three years ago, a sex video featuring 13 year-old Deanna and 17 year-old Tommy went viral. While Tommy (who, as Michael points out, was committing a felony) suffers not a single bit for taking advantage of his best friend’s younger sister, Deanna is branded a slut and sent into social exile. Her father, Ray (Jon Tenney), refuses to forgive her. Tensions at home are exasperated by the presence of Deanna’s brother, Darren (Iain Belcher), his girlfriend, Stacey (Sosie Bacon), and their baby. Darren and Stacey are planning on moving into a place of their own and Deanna is planning on going with them.
Though it may not be obvious from that plot description, Story a Girl is not a typical Lifetime film. It takes place in a thoroughly blue-collar milieu and the Lamberts live in perhaps the ugliest, most cluttered house that I’ve ever seen. Between that house and Ray acting like an asshole 24/7, it’s easy to understand why Deanna wants to get away from these people. The problem, however, is that, after only a few minutes, most viewers will be desperate to get out of there as well. And, unlike Deanna, viewers actually have a way of doing that. They can just change the channel. The film does have a good and important message but the characters are all so off-putting that a good deal of the audience probably won’t stick around to hear it.
Story of a Girl is a disappointingly superficial film. The Juno influence is obvious but Story of a Girl never comes to life in the same way that Juno did. Kevin Bacon is solid as Michael and Ryann Shane does a passable Ellen Page impersonation but everyone else is trapped in a film that’s long on plot but short on depth. I really wanted to like Story of a Girl but I just didn’t.