Bringing the Pain Again and Again
Haley (Jodelle Ferland) was never part of the in crowd at school; in fact she even mentioned how nasty they were in a social network post to a friend. But much to her surprise she finds herself becoming involved with the girls she once despised and with it she not only spends less time with her old friend but less time with her little sister and parents. But when her new friends discover that Haley once bad mouthed them online they not only ambush her and dish out a brutal beating but they film themselves doing so to post it online. Distraught as their daughter being beaten they end up learning of the phone footage of her taking a beating and set about bringing in the law to get justice.
Certain movies feel like they have a pretty obvious path and to be honest the made for TV movie "Girl Fight" comes across as one of them. As such we watch Haley go from being an outsider who jokingly moans about the school's IT girls only to end up becoming part of the group. And for those who know their movies will know that means she will turn her back on her friends and start giving her parents attitude, it is pretty routine stuff. You also know what she said about them will come back to haunt them and then after the girls beat her up you know that not only will we watch Haley deal with the repercussions but we also see her parents set out to get justice. So basically "Girl Fight" takes you on a routine journey.... to some extent.
But whilst "Girl Fight" follows the steps other movies do let me just say that this movie leaves an emotional mark on you. That starts with the sheer horrendous nature of the attack as we watch Haley get beaten senseless and yes there are times where some of those punches look like they are making contact, okay some of them don't but there is a real sickening element to the beating in this movie. This is heightened by the reaction we see when her parents get to see the footage with her mum physically being sick whilst her father watches unable to protect his little girl. But there is more and we have the remorseless nature of the girls when they are arrested by the police and think it doesn't matter. These three things, and some other elements combine to make "Girl Fight" a hugely powerful drama and a sad reflection on society in the 21st century.
But for me what makes "Girl Fight" all the more powerful is the emotional scars which Haley suffers. Not only do we see how she blames herself for being stupid to get involved with girls like that but then she has to deal with the press showing the video and becoming known as the girl who was beaten up. Credit goes to Jodelle Ferland for making this side of the movie so strong as whilst the nature of the beating is shocking the rest of the movie, right down to the press camping out inside of the house, is pretty routine.... to some extent because in truth there are some surprises and depth which shows during the final few scenes of the movie.
What this all boils down to is that "Girl Fight" is an incredibly powerful movie bringing that power in so many ways from the sickening nature of the violence to the effect it has on the victim and her family. But also it is powerful in the way the girls who beat up Haley are treated as almost celebrities whilst show no remorse for what they did.