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Davis Journal

‘Rosaline’ and ‘The School for Good and Evil’ charming streaming options

Nov 07, 2022 02:44PM ● By Jenniffer Wardell

Rosaline (Hulu)

It turns out Romeo and Juliet aren’t the only stars of the story.

In “Rosaline,” that turns out to be a very good thing. The delightful romantic comedy is told from the perspective of Rosaline, Romeo’s ex-girlfriend, and in her hands the classic tragedy turns into a delightful disaster with just the right amount of bite. While the better-known couple gets both improved circumstances and gentle skewering at the hands of director Karen Maine, Rosaline contributes a healthy dose of common sense and just the right amount of humor. Kaitlyn Dever does a fantastic job of delivering both as the titular character, with a wry charm that makes you want to keep watching. 

For those who might not remember this detail of the original story, Rosaline is a Capulet cousin of Juliet and the original reason Romeo snuck into the ball in the first place. Here, she’s distracted by her father’s matchmaking attempts between her and the much more suitable Dario, and when Romeo and Juliet fall in love she initially tries to break them up. When she sees how serious they are, though, she realizes they need a lot of help in order to find their happily ever after.

Anyone really dedicated to the depth of Romeo and Juliet’s love might want to give this one a pass, but if you don’t there are some genuinely funny moments (stay watching through the credits). The really interesting romance here is between Dever’s Rosaline and Sean Teale’s Dario, a snarky, reluctantly sparky connection that even Shakespeare would approve of. 

The School for Good and Evil (Netflix)

When I was younger, there would occasionally be big, sprawling made-for-TV fantasy movies that aired on weekends. The CGI was occasionally questionable, but they were still a ton of fun.

If you’re looking for that experience now, “The School for Good at Evil” might be just what you’re looking for. Based on the YA novel of the same name, the movie puts a new spin on both fairy tales and magical schools that makes for an entertaining combination. There’s a whiff of a love triangle, an inheritance from the YA source material, but there are also some really interesting concepts, a lot of fun narrative touches, and a fantastic collection of big-named guest stars. Even better, the lead actresses are engaging enough to keep your attention no matter what’s happening.

At the School for Good at Evil, heroes and princesses receive lessons in “good” while villains work on their evil skills. A village girl named Sophie is convinced she’s meant for Good side of the school, enough that she ends up dragging her friend Agatha to the school as well. When they get there, though, Sophie is surprised to be dropped on the Evil side while Agatha gets sent over to the good. Did someone make a mistake, or is there more going on here than either girl realizes.

Sophia Anne Caruso and Sofia Wylie are fantastic as Sophie and Agatha, both consistently engaging no matter what scene they’re in. Even when the plot gets a little too convoluted (a legacy of the original novel) Caruso and Wyle make it easy to keep watching. Of the big-named supporting cast, Laurence Fishburne and Charlize Theron bring a menacing edge to proceedings while Kerry Washington and Michelle Yeoh keep things interesting on the side of good.

Jenniffer Wardell is an award-winning movie critic and member of the Utah Film Critics Association. Find her on Twitter at @wardellwriter or drop her a line at [email protected]