Tanner Hall is a vivid peek into the private world of an all-girls boarding school. In a cozy, but run-down New England, the knot of adolescent complexity is unraveled through the coming-of-age stories of four teenage girls.
User Reviews: TANNER HALL is like a very interesting puzzle delivered to the audience in pieces so disconnected that we never get a final reward form the completion of the puzzle. Written and directed by newcomers Francesca Gregorini and Tatiana von Furstenberg it has a script that seems to want to be embellished or at least reinsert what seems to be like fragments of a longer film that still dwell on the cutting room floor. But for what it is, it is an entertaining stage for the presence of some very fine actors about whom, despite the shred of information about each, we learn to care.
Tanner Hall is an all girls (with the exception of the Head Mistress’s son Peter as played by Ryan Schira) somewhere in New England: the stately buildings are crumbling just like the lives of the girls who study there. Fernanda (Rooney Mara sans piercings and tattoos!) relates the story by remembering a time in her childhood when her friend Victoria (Georgia King) committed an act of meanness – allowing an old lady’s pet parrot to escape. Hold that thought.
At the school Fernanda, Kate (Brie Larson) and Lucasta (Amy Ferguson0 are best friends and when Victoria is dropped off to yet another new boarding school by her abusive mother she joins the clack. From this point the entries into love, alienation, mischief, decisions about sexuality, and adultery color the fragments of the film. Gio (Tom Everett Scott) is married and expecting a baby but falls for Fernanda and the two have a challenging relationship. Lucasta must face her conflict as to her needs and rebuffs physical advances form delivery boy Hank (Shawn Pyfrom), and Kate flirts with teacher Mr. Middleton (Chris Kattan) married to the sex obsessed and frustrated Mrs. Middleton (Amy Sedaris). Victoria is left yearning for the world of relationships to make sense but not finding the path. There is the beginning of a storyline as the girls escape confinement with Victoria’s theft of a key, but that eventually goes nowhere except fizzle.
The themes of the film have been used before – and will be used again: girls becoming women is a never ending source of story material. The aspect that makes this little film shine is the presence of the fine acting of Rooney Mara, Georgia King, Brie Larson, and Amy Ferguson. They are a pleasure to watch perform. Grady Harp, March 12