Sarah Bolger

Is there anything more dangerously piquant than the angst of a teenage girl? The raw emotions, the budding sexuality and the passionate conviction that their feelings are matters of life and death all lend themselves towards the possibility of entertaining cinema. When handled correctly these characters can provide lurid thrills and wonderfully overwrought drama, but in less sturdy hands the results can be disaster. Even worse, it can result in mediocrity. Rebecca (Sarah Bolger) is returning to her all-girls boarding school excited to see friends and to try to put her father’s suicide further behind her. Her best friend Lucie (Sarah Gadon) is the one she’s happiest to see, and the two immediately fall into their old habits that have bonded them over the years. Into this tight friendship lands Ernessa (Lily Cole), a transfer student from the UK whose own father also killed himself. The new girl is odd in appearance and behavior, but nothing bothers Rebecca as much as Ernessa’s immediate attempts to befriend Lucie and Lucie’s almost as fast embrace of that friendship. She quickly grows jealous, and unable to conceal her feelings she upsets Lucie and loses the one thing that mattered most. When Lucie starts getting sick no one seems to see the connection between her mysterious illness and the presence of Ernessa, but when Rebecca’s suspicions drive her to dig deeper and her friends start leaving school by car or by body bag she finds the newcomer is more than a simple mean girl. […]

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As we get further and further out from The Twilight Saga’s initial success, it starts to feel like more and more of a stretch to accuse everything featuring young women and vampires of being a cash grab meant to capitalize on the mainstream’s fascination with Team Edward vs. Team Jacob. And yet, other than as a cash in on Twilight, I can honestly think of no other reason why a movie as miserable as The Moth Diaries would exist. A tale about the repressed sexuality of an all girls boarding school and how bottled up feelings bubble to the surface once a vampire is introduced into the mix, director Mary Harron’s adaptation of the Rachel Klein novel of the same name fails on almost every level imaginable. Initially my instincts were to blame that on Klein’s novel – which I haven’t read – because Harron had already proven herself a capable adapter of literary works with her 2000 film American Psycho; but, on further inspection, the excuse of less than serviceable source material failed to explain the film’s made for (crappy) TV look, the incapable actors that fill its supporting roles, or its scatter-shot, disjointed pacing. No, The Moth Diaries has to be a case of everyone involved firing on absolutely no cylinders.

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Mary Harron must be obsessed with refined murderers. She famously gave the world an adaptation of Bret Easton Ellis’s business-card obsessed killer in American Psycho, and now she’s headed to boarding school to create The Moth Diaries – an adaptation of the Rachel Klein novel of the same name. It looks like she’s got a cast on board as well – Lily Cole, Scott Speedman, Sarah Gadon and Sarah Bolger have all signed on. As to tone, Harron notes “This is a chillingly atmospheric horror story with real emotional depth. I’ve tried to stay true to Rachel Klein’s novel in the way it re-works and updates the Gothic tradition and the whole notion of girl-on-girl vampires.”

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We continue our week-long feature of Paramount’s Spiderwick Chronicles, a film that has twice the Freddie Highmore for the same price.

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