High School is an eight-part coming-of-age teen drama series created by Clea DuVall and based on the 2019 memoir written by Canadian twin sisters Tegan and Sara Quin, who documented their adolescent journey before they both found fame as an indie-pop duo.
The series is set in the 90s and unfolds against a backdrop of grunge and the dance music scene. With the clothing, props and every minute detail carefully crafted to recreate the decade, along with a brilliant soundtrack with familiar tunes from the likes of REM and The Smashing Pumpkins, the tone is imbued with immediate authenticity, especially given that DuVall is at the helm and no stranger to starring in some of the best loved original 90s teen movies herself.
Real-life twins Railey and Seazynn Gilliland are cast as the musical pair. Discovering the girls through their TikTok account, DuVal really put her faith in their limited acting background. Even with some in-house training, their fresh and naive approach results in a genuine portrayal of their characters and without doubt shows this was a risk that was definitely worth taking.
New to the neighbourhood, the girls arrive to start high school, having to navigate friendships and establish their separate identities. The series explores all the usual teen issues: drugs, alcohol, parties and love. The twins are gay, which is an interesting layer as there’s not only the worry of acceptance but also the curiosity that surrounds it that continually weaves throughout the episodes.
The narrative is split: shifting between Tegan and Sara, viewers see the same events but from different perspectives. The idea that there are two sides to every story brings a really nice sense of originality to the show. DuVall also takes a gentle approach to the subject, which is a refreshing angle against other teen shows like Thirteen and Sex Education.
High School builds the story slowly and the pace and setting have a timeless feel. It’s cast really well, too. This really feels like the perfect moment for DuVall to have stepped behind the camera and brought this biopic to screen.
High School is released on 14th October 2022.
Watch the trailer for High School here: