Kids in high school and even young adults in college think the problems they are going through are unique to just them and that the adults in their lives have no idea and can’t understand the problems that younger people are going through. As a result, kids seek solace in music, books, and movies where they find people going through the same problems that they face on a day-to-day basis. Funny story though: those books, movies, and music are written by adults, the very same people they thought were too different and didn’t understand them.
I found this same not-understanding,-but-understanding in The DUFF, a movie about Bianca and her two friends, Jess and Casey. One day when she’s talking to Wesley, a boy that she grew up with, who also just happens to be her hot neighbor AND the captain of the football team, Wes drops the knowledge bomb on her that of the three people in her friend group, she is considered the DUFF, aka the Designated Ugly Fat Friend. To say that Bianca freaks out would be a slight understatement. The distance between Bianca and her mother seems to grow strongest at this point, but ultimately Bianca realizes that her mom can actually help her navigate through life. Bianca soon finds herself going through an altered version of the five stages of grief, which lead her to make some drastic decisions in her life, some of which include ending her friendships with Jess and Casey and enlisting Wes’s help to not be the DUFF anymore while also tutoring him in chemistry because he is on the verge of losing his scholarship, has already been kicked off the football team, and a trade needs to exist for them to help each other out. Add in a jealous ex-girlfriend, Madison, and a dreamy, guitar-playing, potential boyfriend named Toby, and Bianca soon winds up trying to find out who she actually is and eventually comes to the realization that we are all somebody’s DUFF and that is completely and totally alright.
Sounds like the plot to almost every young adult novel/movie out there, doesn’t it? I thought so. (Psstt: this novel is also available as a book, if you’re curious how close the movie follows the book like I am.) I noticed a theme running between this book and the slew of other young adult books that I have been reading recently(see my blog about Girl Online); the theme of be careful what you put online and also be careful what you do because someone out there somewhere is watching you and what you do could end up online and could drastically impact your life. (The younger crowd may be rolling their eyes right now, but all of us older people know that this is true.) In case you can’t tell by that theme, some things that Bianca does in this movie end up getting splashed all over social media, but in the end, she ends up using the ability to go viral to her advantage.
The message in this movie isn’t to not have fun, but instead to be confident and comfortable with yourself in order to find your true self and your true potential. I found this movie to be a sort of Mean Girls and John Tucker Must Die mash-up, but with enough original content that it can stand alone. Watch this movie and let me know what you thought in the comments!