Plot: Deanna (Ryann Shane) has tried to move on with her life in the wake of a high profile local scandal, but even years later, her past haunts her and causes her all kinds of problems. She was only thirteen at the time, when a boy filmed a sexual encounter and the video was then circulated, to the point just about everyone in their small town had seen or was aware of the incident. Her father has been distant since then and assumes Deanna is sleeping with every man she crosses paths with, so even her family life has suffered greatly. As she tries to find some work, she runs into issues as people don’t want to hire the “sex tape girl,” but a pizza parlor owner (Kevin Bacon) thinks she would be a good fit and gives her a chance. But then she discovers the young man from her sex tape happens to work there as well. Can Deanna find some kind of closure or at least a little control over her own life?
Entertainment Value: This is one of the more reserved Lifetime movies, but it still has family dysfunction, emotional trauma, and some light melodrama, so fans of the network should be satisfied here. I also think Story of a Girl’s more grounded approach will appeal to those who might not normally be interested in Lifetime’s brand of cinema, as it is more serious and for the most part, that results in a more mainstream style movie. In other words, this isn’t wild melodrama, over the top characters, and rampant craziness, but a more subdued, natural kind of narrative. This approach works, as this is such a small scale, personal story and while I love the wackier Lifetime elements, they would have seemed out of place in this case. I also appreciated how believable the story was, it feels rooted in reality and that’s a nice change of pace from the wild, over the top stories that Lifetime is known for. At the same time, there’s enough drama here to keep fans of the more melodramatic movies entertained, not to mention the slick production values and terrific cast.
I have to think the main draw of Story of a Girl is likely the presence of Kevin Bacon, a big name likely to draw in both Lifetime regulars and those who might not usually tune in to the network. Bacon is not the lead, but he has a prominent role, so this is not stunt casting or a simple cameo. So if Bacon’s involvement is your main interest here, rest assured he has a good amount of screen time. Ryann Shane is the lead and she is quite good, in a serious, sincere performance that is impressive and a step above the usual Lifetime protagonists. She is able to handle the dramatic moments and she is asked to show frequent emotion, which she also nails. At the same time, she is able to convey the hope within the character, so her performance is a great one. The cast also includes Sosie Bacon, Sarah Grey, Jon Tenney, Caroline Cave, and Tyler Johnston. In the end, this is a well made, sincere look at an issue that has become a prominent social issue, plus you know, Kevin Bacon doesn’t hurt, right?