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High school student Lexi Ross (Amanda Bauer) is a shy and reserved teen, with her outsider status attracting the ridicule of popular student Carleigh Taylor (Katie Gill). So when Carleigh's ex-boyfriend, quarterback Greg Nickels (Andy Fischer-Price), abruptly asks Lexi out on a date, Lexi is surprised. But on the encouragement of her mother Michelle (Alexandra Paul), Lexi agrees to go out with Greg and their date culminates in Lexi losing her virginity.
But unbeknownst to Lexi, Greg's asking her out was part of a dare he made with his best friend to take her virginity (due to Lexi's status as a "prude"), with Greg recording his and Lexi's tryst on his webcam. When Carleigh learned about her ex's actions, the scorned girl retaliated by sending the video to everyone in their school, with Lexi being heartbroken and angry when she learned the truth at a party at Carleigh's house. As Lexi ran away from Greg in tears, she was struck and killed by a car, much to the heartache of Michelle and the anger of Lexi's drug addicted brother Shane (Jake Thomas). Later on, when Greg was found shot to death and Shane was arrested under suspect of killing him, Michelle began to fight to prove her son's innocence by working to prove the guilt of the true killer: Carleigh.
Initially, it appears that Betrayed at 17 is going to go the route of teenage cautionary tales hearkening back to the days of after school specials. The topic of sexting has been portrayed by Lifetime before, and Betrayed at 17 also goes briefly into the more recent topics regarding how women are treated in regards to sex. One minute, our shy heroine Lexi is shamed for not having lost her virginity, and the next, she finds herself being bombarded with hateful jeers after the video of her having sex with Greg is sent throughout the school (one scene also implies that Lexi has regrets over losing her virginity to Greg, though this is unfortunately never really followed up on). This could easily serve as a timely plotline, especially in light of recent events.
But then Lexi is suddenly killed as an indirect result of the video, and Betrayed at 17's plot goes straight for the drama jugular in the perfect Lifetime-y way. As the Rosses attempt to get justice for their deceased daughter/sister and Greg grapples with his guilt before being killed by Carleigh in his attempt to expose her as a cruel bully, events started by an ill-conceived dare snowball into a cavalcade of cover-ups and murder. It's the type of plot progress that both surprises the audience and keeps them engaged in the rapidly changing story.
The acting is also on point, with Lifetime regular Alexandra Paul once again showing off her acting chops as the sympathetic and fiercely determined Michelle, with the third act showing her being able to put her grief for her daughter aside to fight to prove her son's innocence in Greg's murder. Jake Thomas and Amanda Bauer also share good chemistry as a brother-sister duo, and both give sympathetic and relatable portrayals of a young man grappling with both addiction and grief for the loss of his sister and a teenage girl whose first relationship is destroyed by betrayal respectively. Thomas, in particular, is able to depict that Shane is not only angry at what Greg did to Lexi, but is angry at the fact that he was unable to protect his sister, leaving his anger at to be mostly fueled by guilt.
The strongest acting, however, would have to come from Andy Fischer-Price and Katie Gill as Greg and Carleigh. While Price's character initially appears to be the typical Jerk Jock common for teen movies, Lexi's humiliation and subsequent death opens Greg's eyes to his faults and leaves him with intense remorse. With that in mind, his brief quest to prove Carleigh's guilt before his death seems motivated not only by a desire to clear his name, but as a way to avenge Lexi and make amends to her in the only way he could. Gill, meanwhile, starts the movie like your typical spoiled, petty bully, sending out the video of Lexi to get back at Greg for dumping her. But after Greg becomes close to exposing her, Carleigh (much like Accused at 17's Fallyn Montgomery) proves herself to be a cold-blooded person, willing to hurt anyone if that's what it takes to protect her pampered, carefree lifestyle.
Overall, Betrayed at 17 is the perfect Lifetime thriller for anyone who comes to Lifetime looking for a drama high. The plot provides more than enough dramatic turns and the strong acting and characters tie the whole thing together in a nice, suspenseful package. In a nutshell, Betrayed at 17 is the ideal film to watch on a Movie Night for Lifetime fans.
Score: 9 out of 10 "She's All That"-esque dares.