Not everyday do students try to take over a school, but in the movie Middle School: The Worst Years Of My Life, we see a compelling case for why students should have more of a say in their education. Rafe (a student played by Griffin Gluck) has transferred to a new school, Hills Village Middle School, after being kicked out of his previous one. He leads a rebellion that makes a big impact. Over the holiday break, I watched this movie with my daughter. We enjoyed the artistic graphic novel aspect, and we were happy to root for the underdog character.

Middle School: The Worst Years Of My Life Movie Review 

At Hills Village, Rafe – with his love for art and disinterest in the rules – instantly clashes with his new principal, Mr. Ken Dwight (Andy Daly). Rafe sets out to break every single school rule. This happens at the worst possible time for Principal Dwight during the weeks leading up to standardized testing. Since testing is such a hot topic in schools today, I liked that the movie examined a current issue with a hip, modern style to appeal to different ages.

Heartfelt But Common Plot Falls Short Of Turning The Rules Upside Down

Many movies set in schools focus on giving an inspirational message in an expected way. From Freedom Writers to School of Rock the overarching message is often one of overcoming the odds. In these movies, students typically learn to make the most out of their situation in life, despite their shortcomings. While this movie is no different, it does make a genuine effort to use artistic visuals and plot twists that would appeal to a young audience of adolescents, with elements that can appeal to parents as well. 

Theresa's Reviews - Middle School: The Worst Years Of My Life Movie Review

Artistic Visuals Appeal To An Audience Of Different Ages

Some visual highlights of the movie include the walls that Rafe covers in post-it note artwork and the hallways that he fills with a paint-infused dance party. I enjoyed seeing the artistic, over the top statements. My daughter loved the part when paint came through the sprinkler system at the school. Every student looked happy and free.

Theresa's Reviews - Middle School: The Worst Years Of My Life Movie ReviewDiscovering why Rafe is acting out was interesting. The previous year, Rafe lost his younger brother. Not only was the brother a companion, but also an uplifting child with a good sense of humor. Then, his mom started dating a new man. Unfortunately, his mom has no idea that the guy is terrible deep down and has his priorities completely set wrong. 

Theresa's Reviews - Middle School: The Worst Years Of My Life Movie ReviewMiddle School: The Worst Years Of My Life was released on Blu Ray on January 3, 2017. It is a fun family drama with plenty of comedy that can bring joy to a cold, winter’s day. 

Theresa's Reviews - Middle School: The Worst Years Of My Life Movie ReviewWhile watching the movie, I wasn’t sure if it would be too mature for my six year old. I was happy to discover that not only did she enjoy watching the movie, but also that it was overall appropriate for her. Check out the trailer to get a glimpse of what you’re in for if you watch the movie.

What recent movie release have you enjoyed watching in your home this winter? As the snow flurries outside, I’m eager to discover great movies. Share your recommendations in the comments.

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Disclosure: I received an item for free, but it in no way influenced my opinion!

About The Author

Creator

Theresa has been writing since 2010 in magazines and online. Her lifestyle and parenting expertise has been featured in publications, including ShopSmart and Scholastic. She earned an M.Ed in Elementary Education from Vanderbilt as well as a BA in History from Flagler College, and she is a certified teacher.

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25 Responses

  1. Dawn McAlexander

    I remember when this came out in theaters. I gotta admit that it was not high on my priority list, but it may be worth a shot. I might just watch it soon.

    Reply
  2. Kerri

    I missed this in the theaters but am interested in checking it out now. My daughter is in 8th grade so middle school is a part of my life.

    Reply
  3. Amber

    Fun! Will have to check it out the next time I’m hanging out with the kiddos I babysit from time to time. Thank you for giving your opinion!

    Reply
  4. CoCo

    I’ve never heard of this movie until I read this and appreciate your perspective. I don’t think it would be the first movie I would choose to watch on the weekend but will keep it in mind if I am looking for a movie with the right audience.

    Reply
  5. Tara

    Loved your honest review. I was also skeptical about letting my 6 year old watch it. Glad to know he might enjoy it and not take away anything terrible from it

    Reply
  6. robin masshole mommy

    I am glad I read this because I had heard it wasn’t appropriate for little kids. I will get it and we will have a family movie night soon!

    Reply
  7. Melanie

    I hadn’t even heard of that movie, but may have to check it out! It’s good to know it’s good for a six year old, because we are always looking for family friendly movies to enjoy with my niece.

    Reply
  8. katriza

    i havent heard of this movie before. i bet i would know if my kids were that age. however, i love movies and i’m sure i would enjoy this and probably bring back some old memories of when i was in middle school

    Reply
  9. Vaishnavi

    Wow, sounds like so much fun. I didn’t get to watch the movie yet but I’d love to, very soon. Love the post-it note artwork. Lol.

    Reply
  10. Rose Sahetapy

    Even though I’ve never watched this movie, but it sounds like a great teen movie. The title is quite eye catching, and it’s nice to watch teen movie that can be watched by all ages.

    Reply
  11. Di Hickman

    It wasn’t at home but on a plane. I watched “Bad Moms” and thoroughly enjoyed it. I think all women can relate to it in some way or another. I don’t have kids and I laughed throughout.

    Reply
  12. CourtneyLynne

    Ooooo this sounds like one awesome movie!!! I bet my daughter would get a kick out of it!!!

    Reply
  13. Rachel

    I’ve never heard of this movie but middle school is certainly the most awful time for a lot of people. Such an awkward stage.

    Reply
  14. Foodie Finds Home

    I watched this movie with my kids and I didn’t realize that his brother wasn’t alive until this end. I cried like a baby. 🙁 It was a touching movie. The mom though. She really annoyed me & I love Lauren Graham. Lol

    Reply
  15. Blythe Alpern

    I saw this movie at Redbox and was wondering if it was worth a watch. The title definitely caught my eye as I commonly refer to my jr high days as the worst two years of my life.

    Reply
  16. Amanda Love

    To be honest, this is the first time that I’m hearing about this movie. I think it’s awesome that kids can relate to it. I have a child in middle school and I’d love for him to see this one.

    Reply

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