The newest fairytale adaptation was mediocre at best

Netflix original film The School of Good and Evil released Oct. 18, 2022, was a mid-tier film.


Promotional poster for the Netflix original film The School of Good and Evil.


The movie The School for Good and Evil explores how fairytales have created stereotypes and boxes, as well as how every one of us possesses the capacity for both good and evil. In this movie adaptation of Soman Chainani’s original book series, characters Agatha and Sophie are best friends who battle bullies while yearning for freedom.  


Agatha is viewed as ugly and a witch, while Sophie is shown as a kind and attractive young woman. When the girls discover about the schools, a bird swoops down and carries them into the fairytale world, where ironically, Agatha is assigned to the good school and Sophie to the evil one. The two girls are followed in the film as they attempt to leave their schools, but for very different reasons.


I went into this movie very excited because two of my favorite actresses, Sofia Wylie and Sophia Anne Caruso, play the main characters. However, the movie left out important and beloved details from the book which is expected for a film adaptation but it’s still irritating. For instance, in the book Agatha’s hidden beauty is referenced and described as her having “bulging bug eyes” and an ugly face, while in the movie she references it once and they never bring it up again. To the audience the line is laughable because Wylie’s beauty is undeniable when it should be a more serious and defining plot point.  


But it wasn’t awful for a Netflix movie. There were times when I really connected with the characters and genuinely felt like I was in the plot, and the cast did a fantastic job performing with the material they were given. Such as, during the origin story of twins Rhian and Rafal who represent good and evil, you could feel the pain of evil always coming short and just wanting to be wanted.


On the spectrum of movies about the children of renowned fantasy characters, I believe it ranks higher than Descendants but falls just short of even reaching Ever After High. The CGI wasn’t as awful as I anticipated, and the pacing was appropriate for a plot that was so meticulously produced in the books.


I found this movie to be entertaining overall. Even though filmmaker Paul Feig had some successes and failures, the movie was nonetheless good. I would give it 3.5 stars out of 5.