Jane Review

The social media age has always been a double-edged sword; for every positive thing it can do, it is able to manifest a dozen awful things into the world. Directed by Sabrina Jaglom, Jane begins with the titular character’s death; the impact of the young girl’s suicide is felt around the school and the community as they all try to come to terms with what happened. One of Jane’s friends, Olivia (Madelaine Petsch – who also serves as one of the producers), struggles to move through her grief, but she remains focused on getting into her dream college.

That dream becomes a nightmare when Olivia is deferred from Stanford, and then she gets upstaged in debate class by new student Camille Nina Bloomgarden). Troubled and seeking to get back at Camille, Olivia teams up with her friend Izzy to attempt to catfish Camille by pretending to be Jane. It’s not long before their plan backfires, but Olivia will stop at nothing to get what she wants. The frequently cruel world of high school has given us iconic films like the darkly funny Heathers, a fresh take on Jane Austen’s Emma with Clueless, and Tina Fey’s Mean Girls; all these films highlight the troubles of being a teenager. However, none of these had to contend with what social media is today.

The makers have missed an opportunity to make a clear-cut message, the third act struggles to land, and the ending can be read a number of ways, many of which unintentionally work against the central theme. An admirable well-cast thriller that can’t quite shake the melodrama trappings. Playing out like an even more twisted (non-musical) version of Dear Evan Hanson, Jane is a solid thriller powered by a complex performance from Madelaine Petsch.

Jane is out now on DVD and Blu-ray.


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