High school drama doesn’t get more intriguing than Secondary year. Netflix’s recent release doesn’t take too long to expose its bizarre premise. The film centers around the cliched figure of a popular high school cheerleader, Stephanie. But the only catch is that our protagonist wakes up one day to find that she has aged 20 years.
Stephanie wakes up from a two-decade coma hoping to pick up where she left. She yearns to finish high school and chart her ideal life by marrying the most popular boy in her class to find her sweet suburban bliss. But she doesn’t know what her plan has in store for her.
A funny comedy titled Secondary year
After moving from Australia to the United States, Stephanie is a high school cheerleader who has worked hard to become the most popular girl in school. From driving a red convertible to dating a popular athlete and naming the main cheerleader, a teenage girl Stephenie had everything in order until tragedy struck and our protagonist finds herself in a hospital bed in a coma.
While aspiring to sound like one of the bubbly high school comedies, a genre that rose to popularity in the early 2000s, Secondary year fails and proves unsatisfactory. Times have changed, and so has high school culture. The merging of high school in Stephanie’s mind and her reality is fragile at best in Secondary year.
Stephanie is a millennial who is dismayed to discover that her Gen Z classmates have a different value system than hers. Cultural shifts uproot all of Stephanie’s notions, and she must embrace the new system while struggling to bring back the fashion she knew.
The new system embraces diversity, frowns on hierarchy, and embraces a more sensitive view of the world, which our protagonist finds alien. Her whole identity seems destabilized when she realizes that the cheer squad still exists but under different circumstances. Instead of the alluring song and dance number, it’s now more about raising awareness, a new concept for Stephanie.
Secondary year aspires to be both sweet and savory but is neither. With R-rated jokes and a weak tone of humor, the film is superficial. Probably the deepest dialogue is between Stephanie and her idol, but that too is nothing more than a semblance of cliché.
It wouldn’t be wrong to accuse the film of trying to overwhelm 2000s-born audiences with an overdose of nostalgia, especially with the scene where Wilson’s character reenacts the video for Britney’s 1999 hit. Mad. The film tries to pull substance from its paper-thin plot by exploiting popular cultural references and struggles to hold the film together.
The film is a stretch, simplistic in execution and has poorly drawn characters. It’s a shame that Secondary year didn’t take full advantage of the plot. Only with a bit of expertise and dynamism could the film have become something much more meaningful, even radical.
But that doesn’t mean the movie is unbeatable. Drama and comedy make a light show on weekends. Capture Secondary year now on Netflix for some Rebel Wilson action.