READ WATCH LISTEN: The Changeover Is The Perfect Coming-Of-Age Movie

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The best way I would describe The Changeover is a coming-of-age arthouse supernatural fantasy thriller-ish movie. A lot of words, but it is only because there are so many layers to the film.

Sixteen year-old Laura Chant lives with her mother and four-year-old brother Jacko on the edge of earthquake-scarred Christchurch, New Zealand. Laura is drawn into a supernatural battle with an ancient spirit who attacks Jacko and slowly drains the life out of him. Laura discovers her true identity and the supernatural ability within her, and must harness it to save her brother's life.

It captivated me straight from the start. The first scene (shown below) perfectly captured the awkwardness of wanting to be a carefree child but having the responsibilities of an adult.

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New Zealanders and co-producers Miranda Harcourt and Stuart McKenzie chose to set the movie in post-quake Christchurch. To me, post-quake Christchurch reflected what was going in in Laura’s world.

She was trying to deal with the disaster of her father leaving and the responsibility of taking care of Jacko while trying to be a normal teenager. And of course, with teenagers, there has to be some sort of parental conflict.

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Melanie Lynskey plays Laura’s mum, an over-worked bookshop employee who often neglects her maternal duties. Tension between the mother-daughter duo reminded me of my arguments with my mother, with the similar lines of ‘Where were you? Who are you texting?’ and my old favourite line ‘You don’t listen to me’. Oh those angst years!

Oh man. My goodness. I swear Timothy Spall just has a special talent for playing the creepy villain! There was the right amount of nail-biting and face covering and don’t do it don’t do it don’t do it. I was on the edge of my seat the whole time!

The person next to me told me after the movie that she knew exactly when the jumps were coming by the number of times I cursed under my breath (which is hilarious!). But the movie can’t be classified as a horror film. The person on the other side of me was a 13 year old girl and she was not scared. At all. To be honest, I’m not great with horror/thrillers, but I would not suggest bring children under age 13 with you.

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Now let’s talk about romance, because there is major chemistry between Laura and Sorenson. Sorenson gave me a very strong vibe that reminded me of Edward from Twilight. Kinda awkward, wanting to help, slightly dark with a good heart. Of course, the physical similarities help too!

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If you have read the Carnegie-medal classic by Margaret Mahy that the film is based on, don’t expect it to be exactly the same. While the book hasn’t aged and still has relevant themes to modern life, the producers wanted to really appeal to teenagers now. 

The Changeover will make you laugh, will definitely make you cry. It is a must-see.

Out in cinemas September 28th in a cinema near you.

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Lidya loves stories, which is why she’s such an avid reader! Chances are you’ll see her reading, knitting, watching videos or eating, pretty sure she doesn’t do anything else. Flick her an email at lidya@nzgirl.co.nz.