The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants
Delia Ephron, Elizabeth Chandler (Novel: Ann Brashears)
Amber Tamblyn, Alexis Bledel, America Ferrera, Blake Lively, Jenna Boyd, Bradley Whitford, Nancy Travis, Rachel Ticotin, Michael Rady, Leonardo Nam, Maria Konstandarou, George Touliatos
PG (For thematic elements, some sensuality and language)
As a teenager, life is rough enough but when your friends all go away for the summer, things can get pretty rough. Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants is about four girls who tell about their summer vacations while wearing a pair of jeans that mysteriously fit all four of them.
Tibby (Amber Tamblyn), Lena (Alexis Bledel), Carmen (America Ferrera) and Bridget (Blake Lively) are distinctly dissimilar people who grew up together in suburbia where they became friends despite their differences. One evening, after find the miraculous jeans, they decide to mail the jeans around during summer break and each wear them for a week and write about what happened to them during that time. Each one embarks on a journey of self-discovery at home and abroad.
Two of the four interlinked stories, those surrounding Tibby and Carmen, have significantly more emotional impact. Lena’s tale contains the typical love story and Bridget’s is almost entirely superficial. Having gone off to soccer camp, Bridget meets a young team captain that she ultimately falls for despite being her superior and forbidden from socializing with the students.
Lena’s conservative and completely shy. She visits her family in Greece where she meets Kostos (Michael Rady) the handsome son of her family’s rival in the fishing business. Because of the animosity between their families, Lena is not allowed to see him but her heart leads her to his side in spite of the fact. Despite the obvious Romeo and Juliet similarities, the resolution isn’t remotely similar.
Carmen is vulnerable and self-conscious. She’s not outwardly ashamed of her weight but outside forces cause her to second-guess herself regularly. Much of her stress is in trying to reunify her divorcing parents. She goes with her father (Bradley Whitford) on a trip hoping to convince him to return to his mother but when he introduces her to his fiance Lydia (Nancy Travis) things slowly break apart for the young woman.
Tibby is the stereotypical angry-with-the-world teenager who looks at everything in the most pessimistic light. She’s been preparing a documentary but doesn’t know what it’s about until she meets an annoying 12-year-old who latches on to help her with her filmmaking for reasons that are best left for watching the movie. Bailey (Jenna Boyd) is as loveable as she is aggravating.
Some of the performances in Sisterhood are well above expectations for a potentially slight feature. Boyd is captivating as the irritating pre-teen, Ferrera continues to prove she is one of the film industry’s best young actresses and Tamblyn gives an endearing performance. The other two teens, Lively and Bledel are merely adequate.
Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants is one of those rare teen girl movies that not only encapsulates the hazards of growing up but allows an adult audience to relate to and enjoy it instead of endure it.
Director Ken Kwapis and screenwriters Delia Ephron and Elizabeth Chandler, who adapted the film from the book by Ann Brashears, have managed to craft an emotionally engaging picture that doesn’t force a particular viewpoint on the audience. None of the characters are unintentionally superficial and each travels through the pitfalls of adolescence at her own pace. When the film ends, you can’t help but empathize with the trials and tribulations these young women have endured.
These tales have been told many times before but Sisterhood is collectively an entertaining diversion. The stories may have a bit of dust on them, but the film blows away the cobwebs and presents them in a way that’s fresh and endearing.
December 22, 2005