Making the Grades
Four best friends are about to spend their first summer apart.
Lena (Alexis Bledel) is headed off to Greece to meet her grandparents. Bridget (Blake Lively) is leaving for a soccer camp in Mexico. Carmen (America Ferrera) is planning to spend a couple of months with her estranged father in South Carolina. Meanwhile Tibby (Amber Tamblyn) is sticking around town to stock shelves at the local department store and make a movie.
But the prospect of being apart is a scary one for the foursome, all of whom have known each other since their mothers met in a prenatal aerobics class. At the tender age of 17, they've already been through a lot together: death, divorce, suicidal depression and unexpected siblings. Despite their different personalities, interests and cultural backgrounds, they've always been there for one another.
Now spending their last day together, the girls rummage through a local thrift shop and find a pair of jeans. Stripping down to their underwear, they each try them on and discover the discarded denims amazingly flatter all of them--despite their varying body shapes. Taking it as a kind of heaven-sent sign, the teens agree to share the pants over the summer by each taking a week to wear them before shipping them on to the next girl. Believing the faded pants will bring them good luck, they also hope the clothing item will keep them connected despite the physical distance between them.
While the pants' ability to fit all the girls is definitely miraculous, the real magic of the trousers seems to be in the confidence they engender in each girl as she faces the challenges of growing up. Overcoming inhibitions, dealing with loss, learning to speak up for one's self and appreciating the good in others are all experiences the girls share through their letters--and the pants.
Regrettably, exhibitionism and promiscuity are a right of passage for at least some of the girls. Wearing only her bra and panties one girl takes a public swim, while another throws herself shamelessly at an older authority figure. Although the film does provide a dose of reality when the second girl discovers even premarital relations can't fill the void she feels in her life, the script tries to soften the lesson by giving her a second chance to make amends with her lover.
Based on the book by Ann Brashares, this film celebrates the unique relationships shared by females as they struggle with the sometimes harsh actualities of life. Fortunately, while these girls' troubles don't disappear, the difficulty of facing them is eased by their alliance with one another.
For older teens whose childhood relations may feel threatened by the inevitable changes of growing up, The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants can be a reassuring tale of friendship's ability to endure.
Discussion Ideas After The Movie
Teaching ideas and topics to discuss about The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants.
During the summer, each girl had to come to grips with personal challenges. How did the pants help them face those difficulties? How did being apart help the teens to mature?
Bridget uses athletics as one way to deal with the loss of her mother and her father’s distant behavior. What other kinds of crutches do people use to avoid heartache, disappointment and loss?
This movie portrays the strong friendship shared by the girls despite the differences in interests, background and body shape. What are the things that hold them together? How do their differences benefit their relationship? What things do you share in common with your best friends? What things are different?