A Girl Like Her – Movie Discussion

girl like her

I read somewhere that A Girl Like Her is probably the most important movie that you’ll never see in 2015. After seeing it, I have to agree. It’s the story of Jessica, who attempts to commit suicide because of being bullied, but really, it’s the story of Avery, the bully. It’s both of their stories in a way that brings compassion and healing to all involved. Really, it was brilliantly done, every part of it, and is worth seeing equally for its subject, its message and for its delivery. You will leave this movie with a somber heart, but also with hope and with much to talk about. Here are a few things to get you started in your discussions.

Lessons from the Victim

Jessica was being bullied by Avery. She didn’t want to tell anyone about it because she was afraid that would only make it worse. Eventually, she felt the only way out of the pain she was in was to die, so she overdosed on some pills she found at home. Jessica didn’t die though—she ended up in a coma in the hospital. The movie does a good job of showing not only what drove Jessica to suicide, but also the hurt and pain her attempted suicide brought to everyone around her. And if you go to www.agirllikehermovie.com/aftermath you can watch Jess in a follow-up video and learn that she is on dialysis and awaiting a kidney transplant…and as Amy points out, she’s a lucky one because many don’t survive or end up in worse shape than she is.

Here are some questions to think about/discsuss:

  • Jessica felt there was no way out of the pain. Do you think that’s true? Have YOU ever felt like that was true?
  • A verse in the Bible says that “this too shall pass”… how might have applied to Jessica and Avery? How long do you think Jessica would have waited for things to “pass”? (Think—graduation at least would have changed things because they wouldn’t have been going to school together anymore…Jessica would have just had to wait a while.) Have you ever been in a situation that felt like it would last forever? Did it? How hard is it to wait for things to change when you’re in the middle of it and it’s painful?
  • Jessica felt like telling someone would have only made things worse. Could she have told someone? Who are the people who she maybe could have told? How might telling someone have helped? How might it have made things worse? The Bible says to “cast your cares on Him because He cares for you” (1 Peter 5:6-11). Do you believe that God cares for you? Do you cast your cares on Him? Would if make a difference if you did?
  • People around Jessica all blamed themselves for what she did, even though it wasn’t their fault. Have you ever blamed yourself for something someone else did? Have you ever blamed someone else for something you did?
  • How close have you been to suicide in your life? Have you known anyone who has committed suicide? Have you ever considered it yourself?
  • How did this movie make you feel about suicide?
  • Brian was Jess’s best friend and probably the only person who know about what was happening to Jessica. He wanted to tell someone, but she made him promise not to. What do you think Brian should have done? Do you always keep someone’s secrets or are there times you should tell someone else? Do you think that, if he had told someone sooner, things might have changed? How did they change after he told someone?

Lessons from the Bully

In the movie, Amy (the documentarian) tells Avery that hers is “the most important story” and she works hard to capture that story, to reveal who Avery really is and why she would hurt someone else like she does. She tells Avery, “I think you’re a very powerful young woman who people love and people follow… and underneath it you’re just a young woman who’s in a lot of pain.” We see that pain. Avery has a difficult home life and friends who don’t really know her or care about her. Ironically, she feels even more alone than Jessica, only instead of hurting herself, she chose to hurt someone else.

It would have been easy to create a villain in Avery—someone that everyone hates, because she is villainous. But she becomes very human in this movie, someone you actually care about, mostly because we see her through Amy’s eyes. Amy doesn’t treat her with contempt or judgement, but with love and tenderness. Amy sees through Avery’s façade. She listens. She probes for the truth. She sees the good in Avery’s personality, along with the bad. In the end, she’s the one who gently forces Avery to come face to face with the truth. She makes Avery watch a video of herself bullying Jessica, and when she sees the truth, it breaks her. Later, a repentant Avery says, “I thought it would be easier to put up a wall and control others—and I was lucky enough to have someone take the time to tell me and show me and listen to me. I never had that before. It wasn’t me just joking around, it was me ruining somebody.”  In the end, Avery gives us hope for every hateful person we know—maybe there’s more to their story, maybe they are hurting themselves, and maybe they can change if only someone can give them love and truth.

Here are some questions to think about/discuss:

  • Avery felt like she was all alone, even though she was the most popular girl in school. Why did she feel alone? Do you sometimes feel alone even if you’re surrounded by friends? Jesus says you’re not alone and that He is always with you (or willing to be if you let him, anyway)—does that make a difference to you?
  • Amy felt like Avery’s story was the most important story. Why might that be?
  • Did seeing Avery’s home life make you feel and think differently about her? Have you ever felt differently about someone after you got to know more about their life?
  • When you see someone who is being mean and hurting other people, do you see someone who is mean, or someone who is hurting inside?
  • Amy’s willingness to love Avery earned her the right to speak truth to Avery. Who has loved you enough to earn the right to speak truth to you? Did you know that two of the things that God is called are love and truth? How important is it that we have a God who embodies both of those?
  • Are there any Avery’s in your life—people who are mean towards others? How might you be an Amy to that person? How might you listen to them, love them, help them feel like they aren’t being judged, but still stand for the truth around them? Do you think you might be more willing to do that after seeing this movie?
  • Avery wanted to apologize to Jessica, but it was too late and it looked like Jess might never come out of her coma. How did that make her feel? Did it make you think about making things right with people in your life while you still can? Is there anyone you need to ask to forgive you?
  • Avery said, “People paid me attention because of what I was doing and even though it wasn’t positive attention, it was attention. I didn’t care.” Have you ever received negative attention? Did you like it, even though it was negative, because it was attention?

Click here to read quotes from A Girl Like Her.

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12 Responses to A Girl Like Her – Movie Discussion

  1. juanita robertson says:

    The movie was excellent. I really felt the empathy in my heart for both parties. When Jessica woke up I was rejoice that I felt the need to pray. I think more needs to be done about bulling becuse it definitely a serious problem. I live in the Lancaster Pa. My daughter comes home every day saying that her day was bad because a boy or girl has hit , pushed or said thing about her because they just didn’t like her. I talk to her as much as I can to let her know I am there and that I love her. When I go to the school they act as though it had to be her because no one gets picked on every day for nothing. So what’s a mother to do.

    • StaceyTuttle says:

      I am so sorry to hear about your daughter’s struggles at school. I can’t imagine the cruelty, or the pain and frustration you must have as a mother, trying to help her, feeling no one is listening, not knowing how to help… Maddening. And so painful. I am grateful we have a Savior who knows, understands and lived this very struggle, one who can identify with us in EVERY ounce of our suffering. And He has a Father who has been in your shoes. And we have the promises of God that we have everything we need for life and godliness (2 Peter 1), and that we have only to ask for wisdom and He’ll give it (James 1). And that we have the Holy Spirit who is the Comforter. How else could we manage? If your daughter ever wants someone to talk or write to – I would be so happy to be there for her. Otherwise, if there are any other ways I can help, please let me know. You are in my prayers today. Thank you for sharing.

      • Chris Daake says:

        It’s been over twenty years but still seems like this afternoon that my sister shot herself. She laid in the hospital’s Intensive care for three days before finally going brain dead and she was taken off life support to let go. Stacey, I am happy for you, having the Lord’s assistance. I think we can go one of two ways there. I used to be a religious man but after seeing and hearing my sister the night of her assault, seeing her fearful of nearly everyone afterwards, and then seeing her lay in bed with blood soaked hair and shut eyes forever afterwards, I still have no ability to forgive those who assaulted her. I acknowledge personal responsibility so much, and that includes her. She would need to take responsibility and refrain from pulling that trigger, however God didn’t help her. That has been horrifying for me. It makes me think that life on earth is a game that can go infinite ways…that God doesn’t help or hurt us. I know you, Stacey have faith but the loss my family shared, and more than anything, the pain my sister was dealt, I wonder where in the world God is. I guess its a question that will have to wait until the day I pass on. If you have any helpful response, please leave another reply. I’d perhaps leave private email address to speak on this. You seem one to have an understanding that this isn’t simple.

      • StaceyTuttle says:

        Chris, I am teary reading your comment… I can feel your pain and grief. Life hurts so badly sometimes. It hurt so badly your sister killed herself, and her unresolved pain has hurt you in turn. That’s the thing with pain, when we live with unresolved pain, we pass it on to others. It never stays with us alone. I would love to chat with you more on this. If you want to send me your email, I’ll be happy to reach out. Or you can contact me at Stacey@shepherdproject.com. I will do my best to talk with you, and welcome you to point out where I’m oversimplifying or putting a bandaid on something that requires surgery… I don’t want to be trite and certainly welcome your honesty and your pain. I want to ask you though, how do you know God wasn’t there for your sister? You assume that because things didn’t work out the way you think they should have, but does that really mean He didn’t lovingly reach out and offer her help? Does that mean He failed her? I get that it feels like that, but is it possible that there’s more to the story than you know? That maybe God did reach out to her? That maybe she didn’t accept His help? I know I don’t know the full story…but just thought the question worth asking. Also, I encourage you to ask God to show you where He was in this. You are asking a lot of very real and painful questions…but are you just asking them in your mind, or are you really asking God Himself, the only one who can answer those for you with any satisfaction? He promises that He rewards those who seek Him, so I encourage you to seek Him…and seek Him for the answers to your questions…I can’t say when He will answer, but only that He does in fact reward those who seek Him… and you could use some peace and healing. We have pain in this life, but bitterness…that’s something we don’t have to keep with us. Please continue to talk with me on this. MUCH love to you, and I’m praying for you as you seek the answers to your questions.

      • Helen says:

        The movie was good it made me tear up like i was there

  2. Carlos Marques says:

    Watching The Movie Realy Touch Me Like Deep And I Think That Bulling Should Some Way Be Stopped And It Never Should Exist, For A Girl Or Boy To Take Is Oun Life, is Something That I Dont NO But I never Whant To Experience Something Like That, Im Popular In MY School, But That Is Something That Stays There And, I Dont No What I Can Do To Help, But If It Comes To Save Sombody s LIfe I Whould Do Anything To Stopped.

    OBS…Almost Cryed Watching The Movie

  3. Tanner says:

    Here is my store
    Age of 16 in high school sophomore year. I bullied 5 year told my parents and told printable but there was nothing done. Until one day after school every one was gone. I try to take my life. I found a handgun that be long to my parents, I said good byes pray. Pull on the trigger, click there was nothing, reracker it again, click nothing, rerack it again for the third time click. About on the fourth time right before I pulled the trigger, some one was knock one the door. I answer, it the person was asking direction, I gave it to them. When back to gun and unloading it and saving the Hollowpoint bullet every day at the reminder for me what is the truth I meaning of life. That point one ask myself is it worth dieing over something that was stupid or to live to help other people. I wear hear aids that is way I got bullied a lot. I am here, help inspire other people and how to deal with it

  4. Arianna Hill says:

    The movie made me cry it was horrible but not in that way. I have watched it at least two times now and still cry every time I see it. I mean not to be rude or anything but I know that Avery and Jessica were not friends anymore but she could have at least signed it like the other girl in her group. Avery was really pretty and all but just because you are pretty doesn’t mean you have to be mean to someone and bully them like Avery. I would one day like to meet them and ask all the questions that I have for Avery and Jessica.

  5. Arianna Hill says:

    I have actually been bullied before bye somebody in my school. So I know how Jessica feels. That’s why I want to meet her and Avery. Just to know how their life was being a popular girl with 4 more friends and what is was like being in a coma.

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