Don’t have unprotected sex. Many people say it, a lot of officials warn against it, but not many people practice it. “Girl, Positive” is another PSA from the Lifetime Network that explores a young girl who simply didn’t practice safe sex and suffered the consequences. There are really a lot of factors that could attribute to her contracting HIV, but the writer never pinpoints the actual source; that our character Rachel is just as dumb as a bag of rocks. But “Girl, Positive” in its ways to increase tension and avoid the inevitable revelation, really just treads water until we finally get to the meat and bones of the film.
This involves going through endless rather forced characterization, and a rather outlandish scene involving Instant messaging where a mysterious IM’er reveals to Rachel that yes, she may have HIV because she slept with a football star a year before. And also, she may have given it to her current boyfriend. “Girl, Positive” unfolds like almost every other Lifetime Movie you’ve ever seen, or avoided. And yes, I’ve seen some; I do live with women, after all. “Girl, Positive” has its duel stories set from the beginning, but often feels unbalanced. At times, we’re focused on Rachel and her journey into learning and dealing with the fact she’s HIV Positive, and then on to Sarah, who deals with her HIV and is afraid to get close to anyone, etc.
One real highlight is the focus on Jennie Garth’s character Sarah, a woman afflicted with HIV who is trying her best to live her life, and gain a romance with a fellow teacher after coming across a new school she’s teaching in. Garth’s performance is altogether adequate, and her story should really have been the central plot, and not Bowen’s. We can watch stories about dumb teens all the time, it’s not often we can watch a fleshed out character try to live life with a life threatening disease. Sarah, and her life in the AIDS clinic is often entertaining, and she ends up being the much more rounded and interesting character for the film. If anything, Garth is the reason to watch this. Regardless, whether or not “Girl, Positive” is intended this way, Silvers writes it in a way that’s often meandering and hardly ever sure where it’s going.
But “Girl, Positive” has that one message that states the obvious, yet will never get through to our audience. Good parenting and open sexuality counts for a lot in this world, and means life or death. It’s a good message, but sadly one lost in a sea of goofy video confessionals, a scattered story, and a rather unfocused plot. It’s not the typical Lifetime PSA crap, but it’s not a prime cut of beef, either; hopefully this will open the lines of communication, and conveys a relevant message about the power of good parenting. Teenagers will have sex, you can’t stop that, and abstinence doesn’t work, but safe sex does. Sadly, “Girl, Positive” is often meandering, sloppy, and spends too much time on vapid characters and goofy plot devices, even if the message is priceless.