The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants
The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants

USA, 2005. Rated PG. 113 minutes.

Cast: Amber Tamblyn, Alexis Bledel, America Ferrera, Blake Lively, Jenna Boyd, Bradley Whitford, Nancy Travis, Rachel Ticotin, Michael Rady
Writers: Delia Ephron and Elizabeth Chandler, based on the novel by Ann Brashares
Original Music: Cliff Eidelman
Cinematography: John Bailey
Producers: Debra Martin Chase, Denise Di Novi, Broderick Johnson, Andrew A. Kosove
Director: Ken Kwapis


Grade: B+ Review by Claudia Smurthwaite

"We started being ‘we' before we were born.” — Carmen

The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, based on the teen chick lit novel by Ann Brashares, follows four lifelong friends during the summer between their sophomore and junior years in high school.

Dubbed the Septembers, the girls, born within sixteen days of each other, have known each other before they were born, or so they say—their mothers became friends in a prenatal aerobics class. As adults, lives and careers dim the intensity of their friendship, but they remain best friends nonetheless, hanging out all summer, eating, talking, and shopping. It is on one such shopping trip to a thrift store that they discover the pants, a pair of well-worn jeans that miraculously fits them all—from tall, athletic Bee to curvy Carmen.

Stunned that one pair of pants can magically fit them all, they form a Sisterhood, complete with ten rules for wearing the pants, on their last night together. Pledging to share the pants as a means of sharing their summer adventures, the girls go their separate ways. Carmen (America Ferrera, Real Women Have Curves), the full figured writer and narrator of the story, can't wait to spend more than four days with her divorced father in South Carolina, but is shocked to find a new ready-made family when dad introduces her to his soon-to-be new wife and her all-American son and daughter.

The 4 sisters
Amber Tamblyn, Blake Lively, America Ferrera, and Alexis Bledel in The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants.

Lena (Alexis Bledel, Sin City and TV's The Gilmore Girls), the shy artist who hides her beauty and does not trust easily, is off to visit her grandparents in Greece. Bridget, nicknamed Bee (Blake Lively), the star soccer player who runs rings around the competition and as fast as she can from the hurt of her mother's death, is set to spend the summer at a soccer camp in Baja, California.

Feeling left behind in Bethesda, Tibby (Amber Tamblyn, TV's Joan of Arcadia) grumps through her days working at a Wal-Mart type store where she meets Bailey, a 12-year old neighbor who latches on to her and assists with the filming her “suckumentary” featuring the losers of the town.

Traveling Pants Rule No. 7: You must write your Sisters throughout the summer, no matter how much fun you are having without them. The pants, accompanied by sometimes humorous, sometimes angst-filled letters, follow the girls around the globe, giving them courage when they need it and comfort when life seems to fall apart.

The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants will appeal to girls and guys, teens, tweens, and adults alike. Yes, it's a feel-good story, but it's also a smart coming-of-age story that happens to feature four young women confronting the universal challenges of growing up—life, death, blossoming sexuality, and changing family relationships. Each in her own way, and with the help of her friends and the pants, discovers that you can't run from your feelings, that families can and/or will change, and that growing up is good. These tranformations can be scary but if you have people who care about you and to care about, you can survive anything.

The story is ultimately about unconditional love—loving your friends through the good times, challenging them to grow, and supporting them through the tough times, without question. That's Traveling Pants Rule No 10. Pants = love. Love your pals. Love yourself.

Review © June 2005 by AboutFilm.Com and the author.
Images © 2005 Warner Bros. All Rights Reserved.

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