"Ties that Bind"
THE SISTERHOOD OF THE TRAVELING PANTS 2 reunites America Ferrera, Amber Tamblyn, Blake Lively, and Alexis Bledel as lifelong best friends in this story about friendship, family, self-discovery, and love. Based on the series of novels by Ann Brashares, this sequel catches up with Carmen, Tibby, Bridget, and Lena in the months following their first year in college as each chooses a different path that will test their bond of friendship and move them forward in their journey to adulthood.
After spending the school year apart from one another, Carmen (America Ferrera) anxiously returns home for the summer with plans to spend the coming months with her friends. Upon her return she discovers that she’s the only one of the four without summer plans. Carmen decides unexpectedly to spend the summer in Vermont working backstage at a theatre festival. Once there, however, she shockingly lands the female lead in the main stage play and must cope both with being in the spotlight and with the attention she receives from the play’s male lead. For the first time in her life, she must step outside of her comfort zone, recognize her own strengths, and discover from within the confidence she needs to be happy rather than relying on her friends to provide it.
Meanwhile, Tibby (Amber Tamblyn) has chosen to remain in New York to finish an NYU film project and to spend time with her boyfriend, Brian (Leonardo Nam). After making the decision to take their relationship to the next level physically, Tibby is forced to face the consequences of this choice. Having always been known as the “strong one” among her friends, Tibby must decide between keeping her guard up and losing a person she loves or allowing herself to be vulnerable in order to save her relationship.
Known to run from the pain she continues to feel following her mother’s suicide, Bridget (Blake Lively) chooses to spend the summer in Turkey as a student volunteer on an archeological dig. Before leaving for her trip, however, she discovers an old box of letters from her grandmother that her father had hidden in an effort to protect her from the painful memory of the loss of her mother. After a heated confrontation with her father, Bridget leaves for her trip and tries to forget the letters and the feelings they rekindle. During the archeological dig, however, Bridget receives insight from her professor that stirs her desire to find her grandmother and get answers to the questions she’s never been willing to ask. Upon returning to the United States, Bridget tracks down her grandmother and uncovers truths about her mother’s past and about the love between her parents that she never knew existed.
After the passing of her grandfather, Lena (Alexis Bledel) travels to Greece for the funeral where she discovers that her first love, Kostos (Michael Rady), is married with a child on the way. After their brief encounter, Lena returns to art school and immerses herself in her studies in an effort to ignore her broken heart. While trying to convince herself that she’s moved on, Lena meets fellow art student and male model Leo (Jesse Williams) during a figure-drawing class. She finds his passion, energy and free spirit intriguing. As they get to know one another and Leo’s interest in Lena extends beyond friendship, she is forced to face the reality of her heartbreak over Kostos. When Kostos shows up at her school after his brief marriage ended in an annulment because bride lied about being pregnant, Lena must choose between the comfort of a love she once knew and the excitement and unknowns of new love.
In the first movie, a pair of jeans that miraculously fits all four girls plays a crucial role in keeping them connected while separated by miles and different life experiences; but, in this sequel, the girls face more adult issues and recognize that the jeans aren’t as significant as they once believed them to be. However, when Lena’s younger sister loses the jeans while visiting her grandparents in Greece for the summer, Carmen, Tibby, Bridget, and Lena recognize what the jeans symbolize. They make a journey to Greece to find them, ultimately resulting in unexpected fulfillment.
This movie is warm story about the bond among true friends, the comfort of family, and the excitement of romance. As a new director to this story, Sanaa Hamri’s female perspective is evident as she does a realistic job of capturing both the joys and struggles of relationships and self-discovery.
However, because this sequel is based on the final book of Ann Brashares’ four-book series, there is a sense of missing information as writer Elizabeth Chandler tries to bridge the gap between the first book and the fourth. The plot as a whole is a bit weak as experiences feel rushed from conflict to solution, making a true understanding of the characters and their situations impossible. The characters’ individual storylines are not developed completely, resulting in an overall feeling of emptiness as details are sacrificed for the sake of time.
The movie contains many elements to recommend, mainly the bond of commitment among friends and the ties of family. There is a strong Romantic element, however, as the girls desire self-fulfillment and long for relationships based on feelings. Teenage sexual relations are implied, though not depicted. The implied act is not without consequence as the character later thinks that she may be pregnant and regrets it. Otherwise, however, the movie does not seem to take a stance one way or another regarding the issue of pre-marital sex, which God clearly condemns in the Bible.
Despite the thin storylines and objectionable content, THE SISTERHOOD OF THE TRAVELING PANTS 2 is a feel-good movie stressing friendship, commitment and family. Still, the MOVIEGUIDE® family guide recommends caution.
(BB, RoRo, Pa, LL, S, N, MM) Strong moral worldview elements emphasizing family support, honesty, commitment, trust, and love, mitigated by strong Romantic worldview themes where relationships are sometimes based too much on feelings, plus one unmarried couple has sexual relations but woman regrets it when she fears she might be pregnant (otherwise, movie does not seem to take a stance one way or another on the topic of pre-marital sex); one obscenity and 14 light profanities; no violence; one scene of implied fornication, teenage sexual relations discussed, one slightly sensual dancing scene, several tasteful kissing scenes, and discussion of man’s shotgun marriage that ended in an annulment because bride lied about being pregnant; upper male nudity in a figure drawing art class with male body parts strategically hidden by furniture and objects in the studio, female character shown wrapped in sheet after implied fornication with her boyfriend and her boyfriend shown with towel wrapped around lower body; no alcohol; no smoking; and, pregnancy scare after contraception fails with no discussion of how to handle the situation other than character saying she wished she had the option to take the night back, and discussion with one character who talks about getting married because his girlfriend was pregnant, but found out the pregnancy was a lie, so he had the marriage annulled.
THE SISTERHOOD OF THE TRAVELING PANTS 2 reunites lifelong best friends in a story about friendship, family, self-discovery, and love. Based on the novels by Ann Brashares, this sequel catches up with Carmen, Tibby, Bridget, and Lena in the months following their first year in college. Each of the four young women chooses a different path that tests their friendship but moves them forward in their journey to adulthood.
Because this sequel is based on the final book of the series, there is a sense of missing information as it tries to bridge the gap between the first book and the fourth. The plot is a bit weak as experiences feel rushed from conflict to solution. This makes a true understanding of the characters and their situations impossible. There is a strong Romantic element as the girls long for relationship and romance in their lives. Teenage sex is implied, but not depicted. The act is not without consequence as one character thinks she may be pregnant. Despite the thin story lines and objectionable content, THE SISTERHOOD OF THE TRAVELING PANTS 2 is a feel-good movie that stresses friendship, commitment and family.