I remember when I was in high school my freshman through junior years I was severely depressed. I remember contemplating suicide quite frequently and replaying the emotionally abusive words I heard on a daily basis from my father. I even specifically remember writing “forget my name” on my hand one day and a few friends of mine and me got into a car accident with a drunk driver who pulled out in front of us. I remember coming in and out of consciousness as to what was going on around me as I was rushed to the doctor with blood pouring down my face. When I was fully aware of my surroundings and my head was all stitched up I remember thinking about the what ifs that could have happened in that accident. I remember thinking how little I would be missed if I had died.
Fast forward to tonight. I saw a movie show up in my Netflix suggestions called “A Girl Like Her.” It had great ratings so I decided to give it a go and see if it would peak my interests. The movie is about a high school girl who attempts to commit suicide and is filmed as if its a documentary. The girl’s mother comes in and find that she’s taken a bottle of pills and rushes her to the hospital where she is in a coma.
While the girl ironically named Jessica is in the hospital there is a camera crew filming students at her high school and asking them questions about Jessica and what had happened to her. What it all boils down to is a girl named Avery who had been bullying her. Avery denied ever talking to her or being friends of any sort with her in high school. Avery played off her part well until secret footage was leaked.
Jessica’s friend Brian had placed a tiny camera on Jessica so that she could record the bullying that was going on and show it to someone who could help her. However, Jessica ends up changing her mind and becoming too scared to tell or show the footage to anyone and even though scripted, watching the footage of the bullying made me so angry I couldn’t stand it. I can’t imagine ANY child going through what Jessica went through in the film. I wanted to scream and comfort her and cry all at once.
Subsequently, once word spreads that Avery is the cause of Jessica’s suicide, she becomes angry until the camera crew shows her the footage of her bullying. This is where the movie got even harder to watch. Jessica starts going into organ failure and Avery starts breaking down when she realizes what she’s done. Avery begs to have the footage turned off and sobs uncontrollably.
The scene changes to Avery creating an apology video for Jessica and explaining how sorry she was and how she didn’t have a chance to tell her any longer. She gives a heart felt apology and ends it with the realization and verbalization of the fact that she’s a bully. I’m not going to lie, this part made me cry. It made me remember those high school days when I felt it was better to be dead than to hear another insult from my father. It made me remember the nights I would think of self harming myself to deal with the pain. It made me realize how many teens out there today currently feel this way. It made my heart hurt for them. It made me want to reach out to all of them and tell them to hold on. That life gets better and that they are worth so much more than what they are feeling currently.
And so here I am with this post. To explain the impact a movie had on me. To make parents aware of how easy it is to emotionally abuse your children with words to the point they no longer want to live. To make teens aware that their everyday hatefulness is bullying and can cost someone their life that you can’t apologize for later. To make sure that everyone out there on the edge of life and death currently will choose life and know they are not alone. I don’t think the slogan “based on a million true stories” could be more accurate for a Girl Like Her and the message it holds.