Saving Zoë (Film Review)
Saving Zoë is a recent release on Netflix that’s already causing quite the stir. Keighley Bradford shares her thoughts on the film.
Saving Zoë is a crime drama film recently released on Netflix, based on the novel of the same name by Allison Noël.
I’d first heard about the film in the podcast Just Between Us by sister duo, Bailee Madison and Kaitlin Vilasuso, in a “sister date” with Saving Zoë co-stars and real-life sisters, Laura and Vanessa Marano.
The stars didn’t say much about their upcoming movie, only alluding to how meaningful it was for them to tell this story. To these young women, it’s been a project in the making for over ten years, and having seen the film myself, I happen to agree with the Marano sisters on how vital it is for this narrative to come to the screen.
Many of us watch films to make ourselves feel happy. Fiction is renowned for letting us escape the world we live in. However, in this film, fiction is used to trap us in what unfortunately is a reality for far too many. What at first appears to be two sisters getting ready, quickly comes full circle back to reality.
Echo (played by Laura) is heading into her first day of high school, where only her big sister, Zoë (played by Vanessa), can offer the advice already stored in Echo’s memory. It’s no secret that Zoë’s dead, nor is it a quite fact that it had been an unspeakable ending to her short-lived life. While the rumours imply the family should have closure, it’s difficult for them to find it.
Echo is left unsupervised and to her own devices, her father is always at work and rarely at home unless to provide dinner, and her mother is abusing persecution drugs from the family therapist to numb the pain of losing her eldest daughter. It’s not until Echo finds her sister’s missing journal that she begins to gain some sense of closure, but at the cost of understanding her sister and her motivations in those final weeks before her passing, Echo ends up putting herself at risk of the same fate.
Any woman raised in this society is taught from a young age to fear strange men, to be vigilant, to not take a drink from strangers, to make sure someone knows where you are. Saving Zoë takes these concerns and makes us realise that even ‘smart’ and ‘cautious’ girls run the risk of falling into such awful games.
The film addresses such an important issue and problem in our society that we often try to neglect and it plays on the cold hard reality of what can happen when these fears are brought to life, not only describing how cruel and violent humankind can be, but the kinds of marks these can leave on the loved ones of those affected by such circumstances.
This heartfelt film is a piece I believe has emerged at the right time, in the wake of such conceptions like Thirteen Reasons Why and the Me Too movement.
It effectively communicates to both adolesces and adult audiences, the people who have the most power to drive conversation and bring greater awareness about a topic that is difficult for many of us to talk about: rape. And though it may not be everybody’s “cup of tea”, experiencing the movie is something I’d greatly encourage each and every one of you. Perhaps by sparing an hour or so on a movie that’s not as ‘entertaining’ as you’re usual flick…well, maybe, just maybe, we can help save the next Zoë and the one after that, and the one after that.
Feature Image: © Blue Fox Entertainment 2019