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The Movie Guru: ‘Rosaline’ and ‘School for Good and Evil’ Charming Streaming Options

“Rosaline” is now streaming on Hulu.
20th Century Studios / Courtesy Photo

Rosaline (Hulu)

Turns out Romeo and Juliet aren’t the story’s only stars.

In “Rosaline”, this turns out to be a very good thing. The delicious romantic comedy is told from the perspective of Rosaline, Romeo’s ex-girlfriend, and in her hands, the classic tragedy turns into a delicious disaster with just the right amount of bite. While the best-known couple enjoys both an improved situation and a sweet skewer from director Karen Maine, Rosaline brings a healthy dose of common sense and just the right amount of humor. Kaitlyn Dever does a fantastic job as the titular character, with a wry charm that makes you want to keep watching.

For those who may not remember this detail from the original story, Rosaline is a Capulet cousin of Juliet and the original reason Romeo snuck into the ball in the first place. Here she is distracted by her father’s attempts to match her with the much more suitable Dario, and when Romeo and Juliet fall in love, she first tries to break them up. When she sees how serious they are, she realizes that they need a lot of help to find their forever happiness.

Anyone truly dedicated to the depth of Romeo and Juliet’s love might want to give this one a pass, but if you don’t, there are some seriously funny moments (stay watching the credits). The really interesting romance here is between Dever’s Rosaline and Sean Teale’s Dario, a sarcastic and reluctantly bubbly connection that even Shakespeare would approve of.

School for Good and Evil (Netflix)

When I was younger, there were sometimes big made-for-TV fantasy movies that aired on the weekends. The CGI was questionable at times, but they were still great fun.

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If you’re looking for that experience now, “School of Good vs. Evil” might be just what you’re looking for. Based on the YA novel of the same name, the film puts a new spin on fairy tales and magical schools, making for an entertaining combination. There’s a whiff of a love triangle, a legacy of YA source material, but there’s also some really cool concept art, lots of fun narrative touches, and a fantastic collection of big-name guest stars. Best of all, the lead actresses are engaging enough to hold your attention no matter what.

In the school of good versus evil, heroes and princesses receive lessons in “good” while villains work on their evil skills. A village girl named Sophie is convinced that she is destined for the good side of school, enough that she ends up dragging her friend Agatha to school as well. When they get there, however, Sophie is surprised to be left on the evil side while Agatha is sent to the good side. Did someone make a mistake, or is there more going on here than either girl realizes.

Sophia Anne Caruso and Sofia Wylie are fantastic as Sophie and Agatha, both constantly engaged no matter what scene they’re in. Even when the plot gets a little too convoluted (a legacy of the original novel), Caruso and Wyle make it easy to keep watching. Among the acclaimed supporting actors, Laurence Fishburne and Charlize Theron bring a menacing edge to proceedings while Kerry Washington and Michelle Yeoh keep things interesting on the side of good.

Jenniffer Wardell is an award-winning film critic and member of the Denver Film Critics Society. Find her on Twitter at @wardellwriter or email her at [email protected].