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Odd Girl Out – Movie Review

by Izzy Kalman (February 2006)

My 13-year-old daughter, Ayala, made me watch this with her. I was a bit reluctant because I wasn’t in the mood to watch another film that stirs up hatred of bullies and sympathy for victims. Though it does a bit of both, I’m glad Ayala made me watch it. It is quite realistic, though in real life the air doesn’t get filled with sinister music whenever someone is thinking of being mean to us. Odd Girl Out (2005, directed by Tom McLaughlin) is based on a true story of a bright, talented high school student named Vanessa, played by Alexa Vega, who suddenly becomes a victim of bullying by her peers. Some of the things I like about the movie are: 1) It runs counter to the stereotype of victims as being kids who have some obvious difference or imperfection. The truth is anyone can become a victim of bullying. 2) It shows the futility of parents’ and school administrations’ efforts to solve the problem for the kids. I know this is a movie that’s used as ammunition by anti-bully crusaders. But why don’t these crusaders get the message of the movie that adult intervention, as well-intentioned as it may be, is not the solution? 3) The problem is ultimately solved by the victim herself. While the way she handled it wasn’t exactly the way I would have counseled her, she still did an admirable job at the end and regained her dignity. This is a good movie to show groups of kids. However, if you do so, I hope you won’t limit the discussion to how terrible it is to be a bully. Please use it to identify the mistakes Vanessa made, and explain how she could have avoided her misery by using the Bullies to Buddies rules. Poor Vanessa didn’t have to risk killing herself in order to put an end to her suffering.

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