K-12 (2019): The Things I Liked…

K-12 (2019), Melanie Martinez
K-12 (2019), Melanie Martinez

Starring, written and directed by Melanie Martinez, K-12 is a fantasy / horror / musical about two best friends and their mission to take down an oppressive schooling system. A schooling system where students are force fed medication to stop them from revolting / leaving and teachers are more concerned with exerting their authority than anything else. 

K-12 is essentially Martinez holding a mirror up to several of America and society’s recent and long standing ills and social injustice issues. Issues including but not limited to bullying, transphobia, police brutality, suicide, women’s rights, body image and racial discrimination. K-12 also features several positive and  uplifting messages that many of her young fans no doubt appreciate. For example…

‘The greatest power we will hold is that of acceptance’

‘Any strain we face will transform itself into a crystal rainbow in divine timing’

K-12 (2019), Emma Harvey
K-12 (2019), Emma Harvey, Hair by William Scott Blair

Having not really been aware of Martinez and her music prior to K-12, I was drawn to her aesthetic, the creativity and humour in the K-12 trailer. The world Martinez’s film occupies is visually interesting. I enjoyed the costumes, hair and endless pink – a feature reminiscent of Wes Anderson’s The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014). 

The music in K-12 certainly isn’t bad either – even though I have to admit that there was a point where it all started sounding the same. Yet, even with that said, a week has passed since I watched K-12 and I can’t deny that I wrote this entire review while listening to all the film’s music. Some things just grow on you,I guess. The vocals and production on Wheels On The Bus and Strawberry Cupcake are two key highlights.

There was definitely a  point when it felt like the film could have been 30 minutes shorter. Still, I don’t regret watching K-12. It’s quite the filmic and musical achievement for the young (24) and talented Miss Martinez. On another note, I think my not especially beady but certainly observant eyeballs may have noticed a continuity error regarding a cut on a character’s arm that materialized on her upper arm, only for it to be misrepresented on her forearm a short while later.

You can watch K-12 on Melanie Martinez’s YouTube channel. It’s free and also definitely more than a whole load of pink, puffy sleeves and baby doll dresses.

Happy Film Loving


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