Lifetime’s ‘Imperfect High’: How It Connects to 2015’s ‘Perfect High’

Lifetime’s latest teen-themed film, Imperfect High, debuted on Sept. 18. Sherri Shepherd and Nia Sioux star as mother and daughter in a story about addiction. A follow-up to 2015’s Perfect High with Bella Thorne, the movie revisits the same issues that came up in the first movie. Thorne played Amanda, a high school student and dancer who spirals into addiction. Imperfect High does not ignore its predecessor, and instead draws a direct connection and parallels to the original tale.

[Spoiler Alert: This article contains spoilers for ‘Imperfect High’]

Nia Sioux and Sherri Shepherd in 'Imperfect High'

‘Imperfect High’ addresses Amanda and Riley connection from ‘Perfect High’

Imperfect High introduces Nia Sioux as Hanna Brooks, the only child of a single mom who relocates them to Chicago. Hanna, a gifted artist, has anxiety issues and they increase when she first arrives at school as the new kid. But within the first 10 minutes of Imperfect High, the movie speaks on Riley Taft’s heroin overdose. That’s how Perfect High ended.

Hanna walks on campus as the police give a lecture about school safety. One kid in the crowd has an problem with them not addressing Riley, and viewers learn it’s Robbie. When he and Hanna meet, he explains Riley was his sister’s friend. Dude has major attitude, and he explains his sister’s been in and out of rehab. Lifetime fans may have figured out that Robbie is Amanda’s younger brother.

He appeared in Perfect High and got caught using marijuana, but Amanda stole some of his prescription medication. She — along with Riley and two other friends — began using painkillers and other pills.

Hanna and Amanda have similar story arcs

When Hanna meets Rose and Dylan at Lakewood High, she quickly learns about the dangerous pill-popping scene among them. She tries some Xanax out at a party when Rose slips her one. This leads her down a slippery slope.

Rose, Dylan, and Blake teach her how to con her mom and a therapist into writing a prescription for her, and she starts overdoing it and drinking alcohol. She’s doing it to fit in and to cope.

The doctor warns her it’s addictive, but Hannah takes it all the time. Her schoolwork suffers, and she loses her shot at an art fellowship because she doesn’t focus on her portfolio. The disappointment drives her to ask the “friend group” and boyfriend Dylan for more drugs. Robbie notices the change in her.

Amanda was on painkillers for a knee injury from dance and continuously popped pills for pain. But Riley, her brother Carson, and Nate convinced her to become their friend and share the drugs. Carson and Amanda start a romantic relationship, but he eventually betrayed her and kissed his ex. The same thing happened to Hanna and her boyfriend.

Hannah and Amanda both end up in rehab

An hour through Imperfect High, the group gets into oxycodone, which was the downfall of the characters in Perfect High. They crush and snort it, and both Amanda and Hanna blacked out and witnessed overdoses in their respective movies.

Each girl walked around barely coherent or awake with eyebags under her eyes, and missed commitments. Hanna snapped at her mother though she was being dishonest, and Amanda ruined a few friendships. Hanna saw Blake overdose and almost die, but Amanda was there when Riley used heroin and died.

In the final act of Imperfect High, Hanna passes out at her desk. Her mom picks up her up and knows she’s high. After a confrontation, she sneaks out and learns Dylan cheated on her. After breaking up with him for good, she overdoses in a bathroom, and it’s Robbie who saves her with NARCAN. Hanna winds up in rehab, and they remain friends.

The story comes full circle as Robbie explained that because of his sister — who is in and out of rehab — he keeps NARCAN on him. Amanda still needs help, but time will tell with Hanna.

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