Is Senior Year Based on a True Story?

Image Credit: Boris Martin/Netflix

Directed by Alex Hardcastle (‘You’re the Worst’), ‘Senior Year’ is a romantic comedy film. It revolves around Stephanie Conway (Rebel Wilson), a popular high-school cheerleader who falls into a coma after suffering a brain injury during a performance. When she wakes up 20 years later in 2022, she initially struggles to fit into the new world around her.

Stephanie decides to go back to school to complete her studies and become a prom queen, with the latter being her longtime dream. Being intelligent and resourceful, she quickly finds footing in a world that has left her behind. The basic premise of ‘Senior Year’ seems like it has been ripped from the headlines. If this has made you wonder whether the film is inspired by actual events, we got you covered.

Is Senior Year a True Story?

No, ‘Senior Year’ is not based on a true story. Hardcastle’s film is based on a script by Brandon Scott Jones, who developed it from a speculative script by Andrew Knauer and Arthur Pielli. ‘Senior Year’ marks Wilson’s first cinematic appearance since the poorly-received big-screen adaptation of ‘Cats.’ In January 2020, Wilson began her weight loss journey, dubbing the year as her “year of health.” By November that year, she reached her goal of bringing her weight down to 165 lbs or 75 kgs.

Image Credit: Boris Martin/Netflix

In subsequent interviews, the ‘Pitch Perfect’ actor reflected on how the acting offers have diversified since her transition. ‘Senior Year,’ along with ‘The Almond and the Seahorse,’ came to her as one of those offers. According to her, these two projects are the best work she has ever done. She believes that she is now a much better actress, something that she didn’t think would be a side benefit of weight loss. And although Stephanie’s story is fictional, there are real-life examples of people waking up after a prolonged coma.

In 1984, 18-year-old Sarah Scantlin suffered a brain injury after being hit by a drunk driver. She was in a coma for the following eight weeks and needed a ventilator for breathing. She was in a hospital for nine months before she was brought to Diversicare of Hutchinson, a nursing home in Hutchinson, Kansas. Sarah spent 20 years of her life in a minimally conscious state. In 2005, almost miraculously, Sarah suddenly began communicating.

Sarah Scantlin eventually passed away in 2016. She had turned 50 just two weeks before that. As with Stephanie in ‘Senior Year,’ Sarah’s family and friends regularly visited her and went to see her when she started talking. In Germany, Munira Abdulla, a woman from the UAE, woke up after spending 27 years in a minimally conscious state in late 2018. A similar thing happened with Terry Wallis who woke up in 2003 after being in a minimally conscious state for 19 years. Wallis died in March 2022. He was nine days shy of his 58th birthday.

‘Senior Year’ appears to be a 21st-century take on films like Drew Barrymore’s ‘Never Been Kissed.’ The main character waking up from a coma is a regularly used trope in films and TV shows, including ‘The 8-Year Engagement,’ ‘Kill Bill‘ films, and ‘The Walking Dead.’ Clearly, ‘Senior Year’ is not based on a true story, but it’s perfectly understandable if someone thinks it is.

Read More: Where was Senior Year Filmed?