School for Good and Evil


By Meghan Morris

It’s no secret that Netflix is a master at curating the most must-see tv shows and movies, but in the last five years, the company has also been creating and adapting books to film. This has created growing popularity for the streaming service with top hits like “After”, “To All The Boys I loved Before,” “All the Bright Places,” and many more. According to Amanda Prahl with POPSUGAR, “adapting a book into a movie comes with a big set of challenges, but these Netflix originals each find their own unique ways to translate from the page to the screen.” Part of the fun of watching adaptations is reading the book first then watching the movie and comparing the differences. The latest obsession for book lovers is the recent adaptation of Soman Chainani’s “School for Good and Evil.” 

The book was first published in 2013 so this has been a long-awaited excitement for fans. This magical series is set in a fictional world known as the Endless woods. The series follows the adventures of best friends Sophie and Agatha as they are kidnapped and taken to the School for Good and Evil. The enchanted institution houses children training to become fairytale princes and princesses as well as horrid villains. 

But as we have seen countless times, the movies aren’t usually as similar to the books as fans would have hoped and “The School for Good and Evil” played its part in changing details and storylines perfectly. Soman Chainani was involved in the production of the film and said he understood certain parts of the book would have to be changed to put the story on screen. He said in an interview with Radio Times, “only a foolish author would insist on a slavish translation that speaks to no one but the most literal of readers- a reader’s imagination is usually much more vivid and precise than anything that can be put on screen.” But this doesn’t compensate for the millions of fans who were patiently waiting for the release of this movie and the unexpected changes that were made. 

Some changes were surprisingly well made like the inclusion of more diversity in characters such as the fairies. Yet, some do not so much like the personalities and appearances of the main characters. Sophie is traditionally beautiful and outwardly kind, and Agatha is considered ugly, witch-like, and dangerous. They were created to represent light and dark, good, and bad. This didn’t translate onto the screen though. Sophie played by Sophia Anne Caruso, and Agatha, played by Sofia Wiley are both incredibly beautiful. So much so that it’s unbelievable that Agatha is being bullied for her appearance. The movie also didn’t set up either girl to be going to the bad school as both appear to be decent people. Agatha doesn’t capture her written persona of being dark and sulky. Sophie also doesn’t display anything but genuine goodness in the movie whereas her written character uses goodness as only a front. 

Despite these things and more, the movie does stick closely to its original plot aside from only slight changes. This does help with the multiple changes in characters, and personalities, and the eradication of some characters. Overall, the movie proved to be a success as it reached Netflix’s top 10 for three weeks and number one for one week. Fans are hopeful Netflix will continue making more movies over all the books in the series so fans can watch their beloved characters evolve on the screen.