Film adaptations of novels that have done really well are not something new. There are tons of movies that have gone down this road, with the most recent and famous being the Harry Potter series, the Twilight series and the Bridget Jones’s Diary series.
So when a recent movie was adapted from the realistic fiction novel, Middle School: The Worst Years of My Life by James Patterson, we expected great things from it as well. However, the film that released on 7 October based on this novel of the same name received mixed or average reviews.
The film and the novel revolve around the life of sixth-grader, Rafael “Rafe” Khatchadorian who has just started at yet another middle school, Hills Village Middle School (HVMS). Rafe is known to get into trouble plenty of times and thus, has been kicked out of many schools earlier. A few of his friends at HVMS are Leo the Silent, Rafe’s imaginary and quiet friend who seems to get him into trouble all the time and Jeanne, who tutors him. She is also Rafe’s first crush.
Another interesting character in the movie is the school’s principal, Mr. Dwight. He has given every student a handbook that is filled with arbitrary rules that everyone has to follow. Another prominent character in the movie is Rafe’s younger sister, Georgia. Like all younger siblings, she also quarrels with her brother occasionally and is the family’s tattletale whenever she hears a secret. They also have to deal with their single mom’s two-faced boyfriend, their soon-to-be stepfather.
As a new kid in school, Rafe’s just beginning to adjust to his new school. But the teachers who are in charge of him are nasty, and even worse than the bullies. So after Rafe and his friends can’t take it anymore, they come up with an idea to humiliate the principal.
In order to do that, they invent Operation R.A.F.E or Rules Aren’t For Everyone. This massive insurrection means that they try to break every single rule listed in the student handbook.
This entertaining adaptation captures the spirit of the novel’s quirky main character who is on a quest to break silly and ridiculous rules. As a creative individual, Rafe has whip-smart imagination and vivid drawings that seem to come to life around him.
What We Liked?
As mentioned earlier, the movie has captured the essence and soul of each and every character realistically. As parents, adults and maybe even younger viewers will be able to relate to the movie and the daily challenges that most middle schoolers encounter. Peer pressure, social hierarchies, bullies, rules and indifferent administrators.
Some of the rules make sense, but others seem quite silly to the point of being bizarre.
What We Learnt from the Movie?
Well, as addressed in the movie, we can talk about the idea of breaking rules and when is it really okay to do so – If we were in Rafe’s place, how would we have handled things and what could have been done differently?
As viewers, these are some of the questions to ponder about.
All in all, we think this movie is a perfect fit for actual middle schoolers and tweens who would probably be able to relate to this movie in a better way. Younger kids may not really enjoy it unless they have older siblings.
The light romance, poignant plot point and the rebellion nature of this movie definitely makes it a one-time watch.