A Hopeful, Heartfelt Coming-Of-Age Story That Is Stalled By Pacing Points


  • Friendship between younger ladies is the guts of We Have been Harmful.
  • The movie tackles severe themes however struggles with pacing.
  • We Have been Harmful contains an vital exploration of race, energy, and allyship within the face of adversity.

Directed by Josephine Stewart-Te Whiu from a screenplay by Maddie Dai (with further writing by Stewart-Te Whiu), We Have been Harmful tells an vital story that facilities younger ladies, their freedom (and lack thereof), and strengthening friendship within the midst of a tumultuous scenario. The movie doesn’t all the time rise to the event, and there may be some misplaced potential and a common lack of urgency, however We Have been Harmful’ coronary heart is in the proper place, bolstered by a fantastic forged and a robust total message.

We Have been Harmful is a drama movie about two ladies who escape a delinquent heart for ladies in New Zealand solely to be captured and despatched to a distant island to proceed their punishment. When the 2 meet a 3rd woman, they develop a rebellious friendship as they face off with a girl whose religion could result in a troubling consequence.


  • The movie’s core friendships are pretty
  • The story tackles severe themes with significance

  • There is a lack of urgency to the whole lot
  • The movie’s pacing may have been higher

We Have been Harmful Falters In Its Pacing

girls and Matron in We Were Dangerous cropped

Set in Fifties New Zealand, We Have been Harmful follows three teenagers — Nellie (Erana James, whose most notable function was in Prime Video’s short-lived collection The Wilds), Daisy (Manaia Corridor), and Louisa (Nathalie Corridor) — throughout their time at a delinquent establishment run by the strict Matron (Rima Te Wiata). Via The Matron’s narration, we learn the way every of the trio got here to be on the delinquent dwelling for ladies, although the narrative instrument may be stilted at some factors, and pointless at others.

The movie offers with some very darkish narratives with out dropping its lightheartedness and humor.

There’s quite a bit that’s good in regards to the movie, however a lot of the story is stalled by pacing points and plot dawdling. The story doesn’t totally decide up till we start to strategy the top, possible as a result of it had already began to expire of steam by the center. It will also be completely different to determine The Matron as a personality; she appears involved about what would possibly occur to the ladies as soon as a horrible medical process is launched by a person from the mainland, whereas on the similar time displaying the ladies no mercy or kindness.

We Have been Harmful (2024)


Josephine Stewart-Te Whiu

Launch Date

March 8, 2024


Match Through Vi Movie Productions
, Piki Movies


Match Through Vi Movie Productions
, Piki Movies


Maddie Dai
, Josephine Stewart-Te Whiu


Erana James
, Rima Te Wiata
, Nathalie Morris
, Manaia Corridor


113 Minutes

The movie desires to deal with a number of themes, however it additionally struggles to try this as a result of it doesn’t delve a lot past the floor of the characters’ scenario. We Have been Harmful deflates after some time, primarily as a result of it doesn’t fairly know the best way to deal with the revelations that come to mild. The story builds to an ending that sees the kids taking direct motion to assist themselves, however the movie struggles to infuse a way of urgency and pressure.


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We Have been Harmful Is Grounded By Vital Themes & Friendship

Rima Te Wiata as Matron stands outside looking stern in We Were Dangerous

Crucially, nonetheless, the movie explores how its college students of coloration are handled in comparison with their white counterparts. The Matron acts as if Nellie and Daisy are delinquents who can’t be redeemed, whereas she’s far much less harsh with Louisa, who comes from an prosperous household. The three teenagers are buddies, however, in a searing monologue, Nellie should remind Louisa that she and Daisy have extra to lose, particularly being of Māori background. Louisa, regardless of being banished by her household for being queer, can nonetheless depend on them to assist her if worse involves worst.

We Have been Harmful maintains its spirit regardless of how devastating the ladies’ scenario will get. It’s that spirit that retains the movie going…

It’s within the exploration of this dynamic and the methods wherein programs — and the individuals who wield energy in it — behave in the direction of younger ladies of various races, no matter whether or not they’re in the identical scenario, that We Have been Harmful is most participating. The lackluster parts are overshadowed by the power of Nellie, Daisy, and Louisa’s friendship. The trio’s friendship underscores what allyship can seem like, particularly since Louisa may have gotten by on The Matron’s favoritism; all she needed to do was act like the coed Matron needed her to be.

What’s extra, the movie offers with some very darkish narratives with out dropping its lightheartedness and humor. It’s a tough steadiness to maintain, however We Have been Harmful maintains its spirit regardless of how devastating the ladies’ scenario will get. It’s that spirit that retains the movie going, even when its pacing begins to tug, or its struggle in opposition to misogyny and colonialism struggles to maneuver ahead considerably till the very finish. Grounded in friendship and keen to deal with vital themes, the movie stays a worthwhile watch.

We Have been Harmful premiered on the 2024 SXSW Movie & TV Pageant.

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