The essence of drama in fiction is compounding. A man never loses his job and has that as the worst part of his day. The man has his life going wonderfully until he loses his job and comes home to find his wife has left him, and for some reason his children hate him. We as viewers must watch things hit absolute rock bottom before it can penetrate through our own problems of daily life to make an impact. Betrayed at 17 is one such film where layer upon layer of drama is laid on, until it escalates to an almost unbelievable level.
Alexandra Paul plays Michelle Ross, mother to Shane (Thomas) and Lexi (Bauer). Lexi is a Good Girl, diligent and hardworking. One day she is approached by the high school stud Andy Fischer-Price (who has the most preposterous chin in human history) and his invited out to a party, where the smooth-talking Andy and his chin conspire to seduce sweet Lexi. Turns out he was trying to win a bet with his friends about Lexi, and as proof films their encounter in secret. The film ends up leaked onto the Internet, and Lexi finds her life turned upside down. An entirely unnecessary side-plot involves Michelle dealing with Shane’s drug addiction, because at this point why the heck not; let’s have that too.
Something about American high schools in fiction make me think that they must be the most hellish pits on Earth, full of hatred and soul-crushing. This film continues that proud tradition, where the children at these schools are apparently entirely devoid of human concepts of empathy, and any authority figure has had their motivations dry up years before. This is the part that makes this movie the most difficult to watch: everything conspires to make the drama more intense, which in turn makes it entirely impossible to believe.
I don’t really know who this movie is for. Chronically worried mothers? You’re not helping them by feeding their paranoia. As a lesson to your kids? Doubtful if it will take in this ridiculous form.
I guess this film can only be intended for someone trapped in an endless daily loop, like Bill Murray in Groundhog Day, who finds that they suddenly have nothing to do other than watch this movie. And even then you can probably learn to play the piano or something instead.