I would like to confess something before we get into this one. I do not like Emma Roberts. I don’t know why, and I’ve never met her so it’s a totally unfair judgement. I used to watch her old Nickelodeon show, Unfabulous, back when I was about eleven and I didn’t like her then either. However, I do enjoy things she is in. Such as Scream Queens, American Horror Story and Wild Child. When thinking of films that sum up my teenage years, this was one of the first that sprung to mind. I remember thinking this film made England look miserable, I mean, it’s not totally inaccurate in terms of weather anyway! I also remember thinking it was a far more realistic portrayal of boarding school compared to St. Trinian’s or Zoey 101.
Time to re-watch!
Okay, so the film starts with the change that is Poppy’s Dad forcing her to go to boarding school in England. It’s interesting that, with the character of Poppy’s best LA friend, the audience can see the fake-ness of her life here. Aside from her family, and the weather, there’s not actually much to keep Poppy in LA. I feel as though that could have added an interesting layer to the story, if Poppy was conflicted about where to live, but the film eliminates any plausibility of this in making her LA life seem so fake and having her make friends and a romantic interest so fast. The contrast in colour from LA to England is obvious, it’s a nice little detail to add to the feeling that Poppy has for feeling out of place. Her walking around the school in a ‘designer’ uniform and having a strange eating routine seem like fairly stereotypical things to assume with people from LA. Maybe if I were from LA I’d think this was funnier? Or perhaps the jokes are just slightly dated. I get that they’re trying to appeal to both sides of the audience though, which is clever. I didn’t go to a posh boarding school, but I am so happy with this representation of ‘mean girl’. Honestly, I think she’s my favourite character. Another small detail that I liked was Poppy saying: ‘What is this place, Hogwarts?’ Then the camera pans to the matron, who also played Moaning Myrtle. Nice. Do you remember the ‘Snog, Marry, Avoid’ make-under show? That’s what the salon scene feels like. I forgot about the mention of Alice in Wonderland in this. I understand the connection; a girl growing in a world far from her own, but the way it’s introduced feels a little random. I love the scene where they are trying to buy wine! It’s very relatable as a fifteen-year old, especially the part where Drippy ruins it by asking for two creme eggs as well. I feel like I completely missed the hangover scene as a child! That’s a good thing, I guess. Ah yes, it ends with the weird student trial thing, another nod to Alice in Wonderland. Honestly, this end could have been more moving if they had spent more time on her relationship with her father and feelings about her mother and less time on the romantic relationship. Overall, I don’t think it quite lives up to my expectations/memories of it. However, the script is not bad, there are funny moments and the actors are all fairly strong. In my humble opinion, Wild Child is not a ground-breaking teen film, but it’s fun and quite unique.
Favourite Quote: “She was a grade one a-hole with a severe attitudinal problem.”