School have been back in session for a few weeks now, and in our homage to this time honored tradition, we have been working our way through films that veer from normality... but as the title of the series asks, what's normal anyway? Personally, I would love to attend these schools, from the feminist empowerment of Grease 2's Rydell High to the transformation of Vince Lombardi High in Rock 'n' Roll High School, including many musical moments with The Ramones.
It's not enough to look at just public schools. Even private school can be a little passe. But an actual boarding school? Now we're talking. Of course, what is better than an anarchic boarding school filled with mischievous cliques? Nothing. That's why today, I am throwing in a bit of a wildcard, skipping across the pond, to visit St. Trinians. "It's like Hogwarts for Pikeys!"
St. Trinian's (2007)
St Trinian's is based on the works of cartoonist Ronald Searle. St. Trinian is in some ways a typical school, with its legacy and wealthy students. The students even fall into common British cliques: First Years, Geeks, Chavs, Emos, Posh Tottys, and even Trustafarians. What makes this film perfect for this series is the amped up personification of these types and their mission to save their school from bankruptcy...by stealing a Vermeer.
The film begins with Annabel Fritton's (Talulah Riley) first day at St. Trinian, admitted by her father Carnaby Fritton, who happens to be the brother of the school's headmistress, Camilla Fritton (both Carnaby and Camilla are played by Rupert Everett ). Annabel is introduced to the school's culture by Kelly Jones (Gemma Arterton) who is essentially the collective leader of St. Trinian girls.
As a typical school pastime, Annabel is hazed, making her want to leave the school immediately. Luckily for Annabel the real villain, or should I say villains, of the piece are the The Thwaites. Verity Thwaites (Lucy Punch), plays on the field hockey team for St. Trinian's rivals Cheltenham Ladies College and Geoffrey (Colin Firth), Verity's father, is out to close down the school for good.
With compassionate teachers, such as Miss Dickinson (Lena Headey) and criminally minded associates (Russell Brand), new makeup, and a pulling together to devise a most clever scheme ("Oh my god! You want us to steal Scarlett Johansson?"), the girls of St. Trinians stand strong when faced with conflict. It is more than writing a paper for dentention. As Kelly puts it: "If this place closes down, we have to go to other schools. And by that I mean *normal* schools." And who wants that?
The film has an amazing cast, in addition to the ones mentioned above, there is also Jodie Whittaker, Juno Temple, Lily Cole, Celia Imrie, Fenella Woolgar, and Stephen Fry to name a few. There are hijinx, quotable lines ("You're only supposed to blow the bloody doors off!"), and charming moments of friendship, because no matter if your school is quote-un-quote normal or an anarchy-fueled boarding school, the only way to survive is with a good group of friends.
Check out the trailer below and then be sure to track down this film. You will smile, laugh, and find the heart in the absurdity of it all. Lastly, remember to tune in next week for the final installment of Back to Normality...What's Normal Anyway? (A Film Series) where we take a little trip to Baltimore, Maryland - USA..