Based on the novel of the same name by famous Australian children’s author, Robin Klein, Hating Alison Ashley is a comic yet poignant portrayal of how teenage dilemmas, schoolgirl rivalries and embarrassing families can eventually lead to true friendship.
The film explores the rivalry between Erica Yurken (Yuk) – a melodramatic teenager living in a chaotic, unconventional household who believes she is destined for greater things – and the beautiful, rich and smart new girl at school Alison Ashley. When the two girls go away on a school camp, their veneers are slowly removed and they begin to see each other and themselves in a new light.
Like the book, the film explores the complexities of being teenagers. Through its two main characters, played by Saskia Burmeister (Yuk) and Delta Goodrem (Alison), the film unravels the many dimensions of a person’s life that make up their personality. The film does not sanitise the world of young people by ending ‘happily ever after’. Rather, it acknowledges that we are all human, with many flaws and imperfections, and that we make mistakes and misjudge people at times. The film shows that we can repair, move on and learn from our mistakes.
As students become familiar with the codes and conventions of film they will further appreciate that the adaptation of a book to film is not merely a simple transfer from one medium to another. While a film may resonate strongly with the book from which it arose, the very nature of creating and communicating meaning through film necessitates that the content is explored from a fresh perspective.
Note: Hating Alison Ashley is rated PG. The film was produced by John Brousek and Elizabeth Howatt-Jackman of HAA Films Pty Ltd.