The universe of fantasies can be wondrous, and there are a lot of movie producers who have made a move to remix past stories, working from a recognizable format while adding something new and invigorating. In view of the 2013 novel by creator Soman Chainani, The School for Good and Underhanded, coordinated by Paul Feig from a screenplay he composed with David Magee, is a mashup of different fantasies deciphered in an unexpected way. Albeit the Netflix film doesn’t waste time and happens for a really long time, The School for Good and Evil is loads of tomfoolery and has a lot of heart because of its driving exhibitions and strong person improvement.
Agatha (Sofia Wylie) and Sophie (Sophia Anne Caruso) are best friends who live in Gavaldon, a town where no one really likes or respects them. Consistently made fun of on their daily walks, Agatha and Sophie rely on each other and their solid bond to get through the days. However, after hearing the story of a young woman who was kidnapped and taken to a magical realm, Sophie makes a wish to be taken to this special place in a bid to get away from her suffocating household. When Agatha tries to stop her, they both end up in a fantasy realm of fairy tales, where the Schools for Good (the “Evers”) and Evil (the “Nevers”) reside, their purpose to maintain the balance between the two sides. Although Sophie believes she should be in the School for Good, it’s Agatha who ends up there, and the Headmaster (Laurence Fishburne) is convinced the Storian, a magical book that writes out the characters’ fates, is never wrong. Things are made all the more complicated when the villainous Rafal (Kit Young) returns and sets his sights on Sophie.
Unlike other fairy tale interpretations or fantasy stories set in a magical realm, The School for Good and Evil sets itself apart by leaning into all the arguments it makes. The idea that someone isn’t purely good or evil is not a passing line of dialogue, but a fully fledged discussion that is often brought up to make a point and make the other characters — who have become too complacent — to properly think. Agatha pushes the envelope and leads the charge in terms of questioning the credibility of two schools that are so adamant about putting their students into already defined boxes and having them fit regardless of who they are. She’s empathetic and kind, strong-willed and powerful; Agatha is the driving force of the film and her friendship with Sophie is the heart of the story. While they’re helped by decent writing, Sofia Wylie and Sophia Anne Caruso work hard to make Agatha and Sophie’s friendship believable, and it pays off.