After reading the reviews by homeschooling mothers, I was pretty leary about this movie but I bought it anyway, and was happily surprised. As I figured, the reviewers I read had taken some comments out of context, or had simply misunderstood. The movie does not portray homeschooling negatively at all. Chrissa considers hs-ing so she doesn't have to face the constant bullying in her classroom. She wants to escape it. But others let her know that's no way to deal with the awful situation she finds herself in - escape doesn't solve any problems. And in fact, as her friends point out, by staying away from school she could find herself falling further behind in her work and letting the bullies win. Yes, her father does say, "I'll bet if you're homeschooled, you can't be on the swim team." And Chrissa replies, "Bet you can, too!" They shake hands as a friendly wager but you don't find out who is right because, of course, Chrissa stays in school. (As a trivial bit of info, some states have laws that allow homeschooled students to participate in public school sports. Some don't.) So, enough about the homeschooling aspect of the movie.
The acting is very true to life and the little girl who plays the lead has a great career ahead of her. Strong supporting adult cast, good cinematography, and an interesting plot keep the movie appealing. The way the parents dealt with Chrissa's problem, a little too late in the game, in my opinion, was very realistic. Or at least, they dealt with it the way it should be dealt with.
I think most kids would benefit from watching this movie and seeing how other kids have handled bullying. It was a relief to know that the script tried to portray how a real kid would feel ("I don't want to be a tattletale!"), and as other reviewers have mentioned, there was no pat resolution, no revenge scene, no concrete answer as to whether Chrissa and Tara became friends. In other words, it was a true-to-life story.
Amazing, though, how many reviewers have said that kids actually bullied like the little girls in the movie at such a young age. How awful.