Sunday, July 10, 2016

Movie Review: "The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants" (2005)

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Movie"The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants"
Director: Ken Kwapis
Year: 2005
Rating: PG
Running Time: 1 hour, 59 minutes

A group of four best friends find a pair of pants that mysteriously fits all four of them perfectly despite each of them being different heights and builds. They believe these pants are something magical and will lead to good fortune. As each friend embarks on their first summer apart from each other, they decide they will ship the pair of pants from one person to the next each week, writing of the adventures and experiences they have while wearing them.

Directed by Ken Kwapis, "The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants" is a coming-of-age story about four girls in their late teens who separate for the first time in their friendship and go through many different life experiences. It is based on a book of the same name by Ann Brashares and stars Amber Tamblyn, Alexis Bledel, America Ferrera, and Blake Lively. They play best friends who have grown up together and been through many of life's changes with each other. Tibby, played by Tamblyn, is the cynical one of the group. She wants to be a filmmaker and is going to spend the summer shooting a documentary. Lena, played by Bledel, is the shy, artistic one is going to spend the summer learning her roots with her grandparents in Greece. Ferrera plays Carmen, who has divorced parents and lives with her mom. She hardly sees her dad after he up and left them, but is determined to make the most out of her time with him, only to find out he is about to have a whole new family. Bridget, played by Lively, is the athletic one who lost her mother at a young age. This makes her a little bit more rebellious, but she is also sexually aggressive. Bridget is about to go off to Mexico for a soccer camp where she is the star player. Before the girls go their separate ways, they happen upon a pair of pants that miraculously fits all of them despite their drastic physical differences. They make a pact that they will stay connected through these pants, which they will share and mail to each other every week.

What happens to each girl while wearing the pants challenges who they are and makes them see the world from a different perspective. Each girl has a different life experience, some of which are happy, some utterly tragic, but each experience is life-changing nonetheless. The strongest aspect of this movie is that each girl is so unique, so vastly different from one another, that someone somewhere who watched will relate to at least one of the characters. Between the four of them, they have to deal with terminal illness, death, suicide, first loves, family rivalries, divorce, first sexual experiences, second marriages, and more. It also shows that no matter how big the differences are between these friends, they remain both close and connected, even when life throws them impossible changes and shapes them in a multitude of ways. We believe this is a strong, important message for impressionable girls to learn at a young age, that no matter what life tries to wedge in between you, differences can be put aside for the ultimate thriving and strengthening of the bonds of friendship.

Beyond this important subtext, there isn't exactly a whole lot about "The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants" that makes it stand out above the rest. The acting is decent enough and everyone does a fine job, but sometimes the subject matter demands a flare for the dramatic, venturing into eyebrow-raisingly theatrical and silly territory. Each of the four girls has their own arc as they deal with their life changing events, but ultimately come together more than once in a show of solidarity. There are funny moments, sad moments, and there are even a few exciting moments, though these mostly fell flat for us and came off as predictable rather than genuine. In the end, this is a film about relationships and all of the things that happen within these relationships that must be overcome. It's about the importance of friendship and how it is important to have someone to lean on for support. Cue Bill Withers right

My Rating: 6.5/10
BigJ's Rating: 5.5/10
IMDB Rating: 6.6/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 77%
Do we recommend the movie: Sure, why not?
Last summer, we were watching: "Summer School"

Two summers ago, we were watching: "Dazed and Confused"

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