The production team of HIGH SCHOOL spoke with TIFF ahead of the film’s premiere at the 2022 Toronto International Film Festival. Clea DuVall’s adaptation of Tegan and Sara’s best-selling memoir of the same name is a touching look at adolescent self-discovery.
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Adolescent self-discovery is a difficult task, whether you’re doing it alone or with your identical twin. Based on Tegan Quin and Sara Quin’s 2019 New York Times bestselling memoir of the same name, High School is a series about the teenage highs and lows of two future Canadian pop icons, Tegan and Sara. This tender story of adolescent yearning, written and directed by Clea DuVall (Happiest Season) and starring newcomers and TikTok stars Railey and Seazynn Gilliland, weaves the perspectives of two young women, and those closest to them, into an exploration of what it means to find out who you are, and who you want to become. Tegan (Railey Gilliland) and Sara (Seazynn Gilliland) have both begun to notice cracks in their previously rock-solid relationship in Calgary’s sleepy suburbs. Phoebe, a mutual friend, has begun spending much more time with Sara — alone. While Tegan is feeling strangely isolated by her friend and sister, Sara is dealing with her own overwhelming emotion: she’s completely smitten with Phoebe. As the sisters’ impatience with one another grows, their mother, Simone (Cobie Smulders, Impeachment: American Crime Story), tries to make each daughter feel supported and validated while dealing with her own existential crisis. High School, which features music by The Smashing Pumpkins, Violent Femmes, and Green Day, firmly places its characters in the context of 1990s small-town Canadian grunge culture. Their journeys of self-discovery, thriving queer identity, and artistic expression, on the other hand, feel timeless and vibrant. As we watch Tegan and Sara figure out how to grow up without growing apart, it’s an achingly familiar feeling.