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A movie which Hilary Duff made during her Lizzie McGuire phase that many believe showed her acting chops. (The scenes where her character dealt with losing her brother were surprisingly believeable.)
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Duff plays Terri Fletcher, her usual perky character except with occasional Wangst due to the fact that her brother Paul died in a freak car accident with Terri as a passenger. Terri is "forced" to disobey her Overprotective Dad because it's her destiny to go to music school in Los Angeles (a justification the film thinks is good enough to sermonize), where she finds the usual Stock Characters:

Yes, it's pretty much just as much a Cliché Storm as it sounds like, complete with a Concert Climax.

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Tropes:

  • Adult Fear: On the first night of summer, Paul is killed by a drunk driver, with Terri as a passenger (although the latter's physical injuries are relatively minor). The parents, naturally, have a pretty difficult time recovering from this.
  • Adults Are Useless: Played with. Terri's mother and aunt are shown to be resourceful, caring and quick-thinking when it comes to Terri's secret summer adventure, and her teachers at Bristol-Hillman all seem to know what they're doing and are genuinely invested in their students. However, Terri's father, already rigid and overly traditional, easily falls for their obvious scheme of Terri's secret enrollment in the music program. He only manages to discover the lie when he stumbles upon an invitation to the final concert — not the (likely fairly massive, considering the size of the school) tuition payment, which goes unmentioned.
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  • Alpha Bitch: Robin.
  • Ambiguously Christian: The movie as a whole. Terri keeps a cross necklace that belonged to Paul, sings in a church choir, and is seen praying a number of times, but never talks about her faith. In addition, many of the musical numbers can be interpreted to have a religious message, and the movie was originally pitched to be explicitly faith-based.
  • Avant Garde Music: Kiwi's specialty.
    • Also Denise's specialty: She likes to use effect pedals when playing her violin.
  • Bad Girl Song: Robin's final performance is the sexiest scene in the movie.
  • Beta Couple: Kiwi and Sloane.
  • Break the Cutie: Terri already has a fairly tense relationship with her father, who is adamantly against her pursuing her passions in music. After the traumatic death of her brother, she's pressured into going anyway where she struggles to fit in, experiences stage fright and anxiety, is antagonized by Robin, and despite forming a relationship with Jay, has to deal with him possibly cheating on her with Robin.
  • Concert Climax: The events of the movie lead up to everyone's final performances at Bristol-Hillman, which are essentially their auditions to win a scholarship for music study.
  • Covers Always Lie: Look carefully at the image on this page. Paul is included in the group of music students behind Hilary Duff, but in the film he never goes to the music school or meets any of those characters around him. He's dead by the time any of them are introduced.
  • Cry Cute: Terri, many times.
  • Destructo-Nookie: Kiwi and Sloane engage in an intense make-out session that results in basically everything in Kiwi's practice room crashing to the ground.
  • The Determinator: Denise. She gave street performances and took a part-time job bagging groceries in order to scrape up the tuition for the program. She even refuses to become friends with Terri just so she won't be distracted from winning the scholarship—although this doesn't last.
  • Eating Lunch Alone: On one of her first days at the program, Terri can't find a place to sit and has trouble talking to others.
  • Embarrassing First Name: Kiwi's real name turns out to be Engelbert.
  • Family Business: Simon runs a restaurant that previously belonged to his father. Terri and Paul both work here, and Simon expects them to do so indefinitely.
  • Fantasy-Forbidding Father: Simon will have none of Terri's dreams of pursuing her music.
  • First Kiss: Jay tries to kiss Terri on the roof, but she isn't quite ready. She becomes ready about 30 seconds later.
  • Fish out of Water: The basic premise of Terri's storyline at Bristol-Hillman, since most of the students (particularly in the vocals program) have more classical training than her and are significantly less sheltered and more prepared for the L.A. scene.
  • Heroic BSoD: Terri becomes fairly despondent after Paul's death, although it fades fairly quickly.
  • I Need a Freaking Drink: Aunt Nina, after Terri arrives at her house just in the nick of time to greet her father.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: Robin is no saint, and her tantrum over Terri getting her vocal part may have been a little inappropriate, but she's not wrong that Terri was given the part not because she was the best singer or the most well-prepared, but because she "deserves" it for her improvement. Robin's skills are higher and she's shown to have pretty good work ethic, despite being a jerkass — and unlike Terri, she actually shows up to class and doesn't have meltdowns every time she fails to do something right.
  • My Sister Is Off-Limits!: Gender-flipped: Terri objects to her best friend flirting with her brother.
  • Once More, with Clarity!: Flashbacks to Paul's death are revisited several times.
  • One Person, One Power: Terri can write lyrics, but is a terrible composer; Jay can write music, but is a terrible lyricist. They decide to join forces for a chance at splitting the scholarship.
  • Out Living Ones Offspring: Terri and Paul's parents outlive their eldest.
  • Overprotective Dad: It's one thing that Simon objects to Terri going to L.A. for the summer all by herself at the age of 16. But driving all the way to Palm Desert just because he suspects something's up?
  • Performance Anxiety: Terri has a few bad cases of this, most notably at an open-mic night at a local club.
  • Power Ballad: "Someone's Watching Over Me"
  • Sacrificial Lamb: Paul, who dies within the first act after setting in motion the events of the second and third acts.
  • Sassy Black Woman: Denise.
  • Second-Act Breakup: Robin plants a kiss on Jay seconds before Terri enters the room. Terri immediately runs off, with Jay following after her in an attempt to explain what really happened. This is immediately followed by a Sad-Times Montage alternating between Terri and Jay.
  • Small Town Boredom: Terri and Paul are both eager to get out of their hometown of Flagstaff, Arizona. Their father is none too pleased at the prospect.
  • Stereo Fibbing: As far as Simon knows, Terri is just visiting Aunt Nina in Palm Desert, when Terri is really in L.A. When Simon calls to find out what they're up to one evening, Nina sets up a three-way phone conversation in which she and Terri switch between "eating dinner" and "watching TV."
  • Trauma Button: Spotlights cause Terri to flash back to the lights of the car that killed Paul.
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom: Terri becomes this when she procures tickets to Paul's favourite band and sneaks him out for the concert, despite his being grounded, which ultimately leads to his death. The rest of the movie deals with Terri's guilt over this act.
  • Vocal Dissonance: There are a few scenes in which Hilary Duff is very obviously singing with a much more sophisticated voice than her own.
  • You Are Better Than You Think You Are: The crux of Mr. Torvald's pep talk to Terri toward the end of the movie.

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