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The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants

Movie Info

RATING:

PG for thematic elements, some sensuality and language.

RELEASED:

June 3, 2005

GENRE:

Drama

STARRING:

Amber Rose Tamblyn, Alexis Bledel, Blake Lively, America Ferrera, Bradley Whitford

DIRECTOR:

Ken Kwapis

BASED ON:

Novel by Ann Brashares

DISTRIBUTOR:

Warner Bros.

 

Please Note

In providing movie reviews on our site, CBN.com is not endorsing or recommending films we review. Our goal is to provide Christians with information about the latest movies, both the good and the bad, so that our readers may make an informed decision as to whether or not films are appropriate for them and their families.

MOVIE REVIEW

The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants

Dr. Tom Snyder
MovieGuide Magazine

CBN.com The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants is a melodrama aimed at teenage girls that tangles the stories of four lifelong friends who each go on a summer adventure and find themselves lonely for vastly different reasons.

Lena (Alexis Bledel) is a shy, serious girl who is going to Greece for the summer to see her grandparents. While sketching buildings in the village, she happens upon a dynamic college student who makes her realize that she alienates herself from people because of insecurity. Bridget (Blake Lively), meanwhile, goes to Mexico for soccer camp. She is still stinging from the recent suicide of her mother and tries to bury her loneliness and hurt through a relationship with one of the coaches.

A third friend, Carmen (America Ferrera), travels to South Carolina to spend time with her occasionally estranged father, played by Bradley Whitford of The West Wing. Once she arrives, Carmen’s father tells her that he is about to remarry, and that he is already living with the woman and her two children. Carmen is heartbroken and feels excluded from her father’s life. Finally, Tibby (Amber Tamblyn) is staying at home in Virginia to work and make a documentary. She feels like her friends have abandoned her, but she begrudgingly makes a new friend who makes her reevaluate her attitudes.

Although Sisterhood shares many of the trappings of those vapid, tacky WB Network dramas, it approaches its characters and their problems thoughtfully. These girls’ problems, after all – alienation from parents, disappointment from friends, disapproval of oneself – are very common ones. The movie, and probably the book upon which it is based, seems designed to let teenagers know that they are not alone in their problems and that there is, in fact, an end in sight.

Unfortunately, the glimmer of hope offered by the movie isn’t a substantial one. A 12-year-old emerges as a Tuesday with Morrie-style oracle who tells Tibby that she has to look for the happy parts of life and live for them, since those fleeting good moments are the only reason to keep going. Christians would differ with that notion and supply a few other reasons to live: to glorify God, to love others and share the Gospel with them, and to be obedient to their Creator. The advice that Tibby shares with the other girls is a vain philosophy that leaves people constantly searching for temporal pleasure instead of lasting joy. This bad philosophy infects so many teen television programs and movies and is partially responsible for a generation that is desperately and disappointedly searching for happiness without any clue as to where they can find it.

Mike Vogel and Blake Lively in 'The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants'One character illustrates this aimless pleasure seeking. Bridget, the girl at soccer camp, throws herself at a boy a few years older than she. She thinks that the boy’s affection, both emotional and physical, will distract her from the terrible pain she feels after the death of her mother. Although it is not depicted but only referenced later, Bridget loses her virginity to the boy, and then grieves her mistake. Sex did not make her feel better, only more lonely, since the connection she experienced with the boy wasn’t a meaningful one. That’s a salient point to make, but the movie glosses over it in the final minutes, assigning a pat and unsatisfying conclusion to Bridget’s unhappiness.

The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants has its fare share of wrongheaded and just plain silly moments (Lena and her Greek suitor declare their heartfelt love after only a few days), but it also encourages loving reconciliation of family, as in Carmen’s case. The movie’s ending, when Carmen must decide what role she’ll play in her father’s new life, is extremely touching and made many members of the advance screening audience cry.

This movie is very well acted and well considered. It offers the audience lifelike characters who breathe emotion into situations that are otherwise trite. A dicey worldview makes Sisterhood a poor choice for teenagers who would be unduly influenced, but the girls’ complex problems can also provide a good starting point for meaningful discussion about God’s true purpose for our life.

Address Comments To:
Barry M. Meyer, Chairman/CEO
Warner Bros., Inc.
4000 Warner Blvd.
Burbank, CA 91522-0001
Phone: (818) 954-6000
Website: www.movies.warnerbros.com


NOTE from Dr. Ted Baehr, publisher of Movieguide Magazine. For more information from a Christian perspective, order the latest Movieguide Magazine by calling 1-800-899-6684(MOVI) or visit our website at www.movieguide.org. Movieguide is dedicated to redeeming the values of Hollywood by informing parents about today's movies and entertainment and by showing media executives and artists that family-friendly and even Christian-friendly movies do best at the box office year in and year out. Movieguide now offers an online subscription to its magazine version, at www.movieguide.org. The magazine, which comes out 25 times a year, contains many informative articles and reviews that help parents train their children to be media-wise consumers.

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