Saturday, August 09, 2008

Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2: The Movie

MPAA Rating: PG-13
Moral Rating: Average
Intended Audience: Teen

The sisterhood is stretched thin as each girl moves in their separate directions in the sequel to the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants. Tibby is living her dream to attend film school while Lena is taking an art class. Bridget is leaving for Turkey on an excavation dig, and Carmen, believing they all will be home for the summer, cancels her plans of attending an acting internship until she realizes they all will be going their separate ways. Their hope is that the pants will once again hold their friendship safely in place even as they take their own paths and perhaps find new love.

The movie highlights many issues young women will face on their journeys into adulthood: heart break, sex, losing loved ones but most importantly discovering that wounds even well-denied ones need to be dealt with and allowed to heal. The film also addresses such topics as believing in oneself, facing the death of loved ones, forgiveness, and healing family ties.

The girls have grown into young women and have naturally progressed into more mature situations. The biggest issue is pre-marital sex. The film begins with Kostos explaining to Lena that he is now married due to a pregnancy. Later, Tibby and Brian celebrate their anniversary with a bottle of wine although each only has one sip before progressing into making out. Tibby decides it’s time for the next step in their relationship, sex. Not much detail is shown, and the scene quickly cuts to Tibby on the bed wrapped in a sheet and Brian entering the room clothed with a towel. The tone becomes serious when Brian announces the condom broke. Tibby is horrified that she may be pregnant and soon withdraws from Brian and the rest of the sisterhood, refusing to talk to them or return their phone calls.

Lena is taking an art class for the summer, which will include painting a nude model. She is extremely embarrassed by this especially when a handsome guy approaches and asks if she’s a virgin, because of her obvious embarrassment. The guy ends up being the model, and Lena is even more mortified. The scene is made to be comical and no private parts are shown although the camera goes in for a close-up at his bear chest, arms and legs giving the impression that Lena is admiring his body. Spoiler warning: Kostos and Lena spend the night together on his boat. Kissing only is shown, and we are left to wonder whether they were intimate or not.

Besides pre-marital sex many viewers may be offended with the overuse of the various exclamations “Oh G**”, which totaled over ten times. Jesus name was also misused, s*** was exclaimed, and the milder b****** (illegimate child) were all used at least once. H*** as well was used on more than one occasion.

There was no violence in the movie.

Some fans of the books may be saddened to see books 2, 3, and 4 spliced together into one movie. At times, having the background knowledge of having read the series made some of the scenes less confusing especially when new characters were introduced (although some of the plotlines have been changed from the original books). However, those who enjoyed the series as well as those who’ve only seen the first movie will still enjoy the same quirkiness of all four girls. Their well-known personalities shine even as they face more mature situations. Many young women will be able to identify with at least one character, and each character is equally fleshed out for all to enjoy.

The main theme in the film is, of course, true friends will remain even in the toughest of situations. But, romance and the issue of sex before marriage is also a heavy plotline that is shown in a secular light. Tibby’s pregnancy scare does not result in her determining that she should wait until marriage for intimacy but has more of a lesson about trust in others. Brian’s character (Tibby’s boyfriend) is supportive and loving vowing to make things work if Tibby is pregnant. Although these are good lessons to learn and qualities to exhort, sex within the context of marriage is not mentioned. The more accepted notion of saving sex for being in love is honored. I think the film does at least spread light on the fact that sex outside of marriage is not always the glamorized version the media portrays but can have some serious consequences like teen pregnancy. God’s perfect plan of intimacy within the context of marriage was not only designed for our benefit, but for the protection of children resulting in the union as well.

The girls have matured. They are faced with mature situations; therefore, the audience should be more mature for this sequel as well, perhaps older teens and young adults. One can still leave the movie in a positive light. The message of hope, healing and having loving, supportive friends shine. But, be prepared to talk with your teens about the tough issue of sex outside of marriage.

For another Christian review of the movie visit Christian Spotlight on Entertainment.

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