31st May2024

‘The Image of You’ Review

by Jasmine Valentine

Stars: Sasha Pieterse, Parker Young, Néstor Carbonell, Mira Sorvino | Written by Chris Sivertson | Directed by Jeff Fisher

Anna and Zoe (Sasha Pieterse) are twin sisters, sharing the classic close bond that almost nobody can mess with. This stays true until Anna meets Nick (Parker Young), with the two quickly falling in love. While Anna is romantic and trusting, Zoe is aloof and suspicious, determined to get to the bottom of who Nick really is.

Listen up, Pretty Little Liars fans — the sequel to a storyline that never actually existed just dropped. It comes as no surprise that The Image of You is based on a thriller novel of the same name, just as the storyline closely resembling the hit TV series makes complete sense. If you’re looking for astounding or impressive filmmaking, you’ve come to the wrong place. But if you’re prepared to take absolutely everything you see with a jug full of salt, you might find some fun in this movie.

The Image of You is basically a success in one way and one way only — proving that Sasha Pieterse is a completely underrated actress. Fans will know her best as Alison in Pretty Little Liars, and that was definitely her biggest role to date. While she’s blended into the background in recent years, she’s also cornered a market, playing a teen-drama-worthy, often conniving villain whose cruelty comes as easily as breathing. 14 years after her acting debut, Pieterse has far from lost her touch, playing off Anna and Zoe as if they are Yin and Yang. There’s a Hallmark channel feel to them, but it doesn’t matter — they are the centre of our enjoyment, and we’re loving the drama.

However, everything else The Image of You touches isn’t as desirable. The narrative often doesn’t make coherent sense, jumping about as much as the final few series of Pretty Little Liars. While Pieterse is holding up the performance, the other cast members blend into one cacophony of moody young city dwellers, indistinguishable from the next if you take your eye off the screen for more than a few seconds. The technical craft of the film is neither here nor there, making it almost impossible to critique — although, it isn’t hard to see why the movie has gone straight to digital release.

Despite this, there is a twist lurking within The Image of You, and it is a wild one. It deftly follows the teen drama school of thinking, in which there are absolutely no rules at all. Everything can throw caution to the wind, including logic, narrative structure, and continuity. In a strange way, the movie is pleasantly characterized by it — almost so bad that it is good. It’s a backwards hats off to Jeff Fisher, who seems to know exactly what role his movie should fulfill… something that’s only rewatched with friends while everybody talks over it.

** 2/5

The Image of You is out now.

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