Story of a Girl: Kyra Sedgwick Adapts Sara Zarr’s Novel Into a Family-Affair Film

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21 July 2017

LIFETIME, Sunday, July 23, 8:00 PM ET

By Lori Acken

Lifetime’s Story of a Girl, which premieres Sunday, begins like many a modern parent-teen nightmare. Middle-schooler Deanna Lambert (an impressive Ryann Shane) is wooed by her big brother’s handsome flatterer of a best pal, takes a giant step toward adulthood and, in no time, learns a video of her “first time” has gone public — branding her a pariah at school and turning her home into a silently simmering war zone.

But before you roll your eyes at the prospect of yet another “don’t post your naughty bits” cautionary tale, know this: Adapted from Sara Zarr’s young-adult novel and helmed by actress and first-time director Kyra Sedgwick, Story of a Girl gives the moment its due, then moves on to what truly matters — what happens next when we make a mistake that won’t let us go.

Driven into mercurial despair when the video surfaces — a sin he won’t forgive even three years later — Deanna’s dad Ray (Scandal’s Jon Tenney) is further incensed when Deanna’s brother Darren (Iain Belcher) impregnates his girlfriend Stacy (Sedgwick’s daughter, Sosie Bacon), moving into the basement with his young family instead of moving on to a bright future. But when Deanna lands a job at a local pizzeria owned by unflappable Michael (Sedgwick’s husband Kevin Bacon), a quirky local with an outsider story of his own, it sets in motion a long overdue cycle of selfawareness … and, ultimately, forgiveness.

Filled with quiet but emotionally potent moments, Story of a Girl boasts a welcome Judy Blume-like feel as Deanna, now 16, tries to craft a life beyond being the girl in that video whose dad can’t look her in the eye. There are no emotional pyrotechnics, no wince-worthy stereotypes — just believable, wounded souls trying to cope with life’s sucker punches.

“It is about connection and the fragility of connection and families and how quickly and easily they get fractured,” says Sedgwick, “and how forgiveness can feel so far away. Because this is also very much a father-daughter story and a family story. How do you take control of your own narrative as a young woman, as a young man? How does a father wrap his arms around the young woman when she gets older and starts making her own choices and becoming a sexual being?”

Sedgwick calls the opportunity to tell this family’s story with her own family (son Travis provided music) a dream come true.

“It was so easy to direct Kevin and Sosie,” she says. “They were incredible beyond my wildest dreams. I pray that people actually watch this together as a family, too.”
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