A Girl Like Me tackles one of the hot button issues of the day: bullying. A teenage girl, Jessica Burns, is relentlessly bullied at school and finally attempts suicide to escape her fear and pain. Her chief tormentor, Avery Keller, comes across as the typical popular mean girl whose taunts and harassment take the form of direct hallway confrontations and social media assaults.
Given this description, the film sounds little better than a Lifetime movie-of-the-week. What elevates it though are two very good central performances by the lead actresses and how the narrative technique eventually allows the director, Amy S. Weber, to make some very powerful points about the origins and ramifications of high school bullying. These two qualities allow the film to avoid becoming just an issue movie full of empty sentiment and no point of view to offer.
I can't say too much about the latter without ruining the film, but I can say that Weber uses the documentary format to show a potential way of dealing with the bullying crisis, one that might actually work in ways that school policies and rhetoric have failed. She doesn't so much offer a prescribed method of solution as she illuminates an approach to the problem that refuses to reduce either party to a stereotype or two-dimensional figure. How that is accomplished in the film is one of the most powerful parts of its story, so I will say no more about it.