Film Review: All the Bright Places (2020)

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All the Bright Places (2020)

‘Even the ugliest of places can be beautiful as long as you take the time to look.’ 

 

Netflix’s new movie, All the Bright Places, is the story of Theodore Finch (played by Justice Smith) and Violet Markey (played by Elle Fanning).

One morning, Theodore’s out for a run when he happens upon Violet, standing alone on a bridge ledge. He quietly intervenes and refuses to leave when she tells him to go, and talks her down. Theodore’s quickly drawn to Violet, determined to help her and bring her out of the darkness that’s consumed her since her sister died. But Theodore’s got his own problems and in addition to his internal struggles, is dealing with a variety of problems at school and at home. When the pair are tasked with a school project, they slowly grow closer, but both are dealing with a lot and things quickly become intense.

I had no idea this was based on a book going in, so the plot took me completely by surprise. One of my favourite moments in the movie is when Theodore and Violet start communicating in Virginia Woolf quotes. I just found it so adorable. That said, the bulk of their interactions are cute and/or touching. But the storyline’s going to tug at your heart-strings, so fair warning.

All the Bright Places kind of reminds me of Before I Fall, another Netflix favourite of mine. (Netflix is such a gift to us introverts so that we can get good movies without having to leave the house.) I like quiet stories that feel genuine and I can usually only find them in indie films, so I’m loving these new releases on Netflix. ^_^ Elle Fanning is as lovely as ever and I was really surprised by Justice Smith. They are the heart and soul of the movie and played well off each other.

I definitely recommend this one!

Review: Handsome Devil (2016)

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‘I never knew I’d been lonely until I found a friend.’

I’d liken this movie to a modern day LGBT Dead Poets Society (but with a happy ending, fear not!)

*review contains spoilers*

The story follows Ned, who doesn’t like his school or any of the boys at his school. He really doesn’t like his roommate, Conor, the new star of the rugby team. It’s a school obsessed with rugby and fitting in, which is something Ned decidedly doesn’t do. He’s bullied for being gay and after a confrontation with the rugby players in his bedroom, he makes a ‘Berlin Wall’ out of his bookshelves between his half of the room and Conor’s half. The sign changes from ←Ned | Him → to ← Ned | Press Ups → before their friendship solidifies and the wall comes down.

Other than Ned and Conor, there’s Mr Sherry, played by Andrew Scott. He’s a frustrated teacher, funny and kind and acerbic in equal measure. His rants are truly epic and wonderful, and Andrew Scott does a brilliant job. Hands down my favourite character, although I loved all three of the mains.

‘You spend your whole life being someone else, who’s going to be you?’

One night, Ned follows Conor to a gay pub only to be turned away for being too young. Inside, Conor sees Sherry with his boyfriend. Sherry sees him, too, and both panic. On the train back to the school, Conor and Sherry agree not to say anything about seeing each other in the pub and carry on. But when they are seen coming back to the school together by the rugby coach Pascal, he tells one of his players to look into the reason Conor was expelled from his previous school. The school bully learns that Conor’s gay and blackmails him into ignoring Ned, who is still hated by everyone else for being unapologetically gay. This leads to a confrontation between Sherry and Pascal (i.e. Sherry is the BEST and Pascal is the WORST).

When the bullying gets worse for Ned, he confronts the whole school and Conor gets outed. Conor goes to Sherry for advice and Sherry assures him that things do get better after secondary school. And while Ned faces the consequences of his actions, Conor runs away, leaving Sherry deeply concerned. He then gets into a confrontation with the headmaster, who’s more concerned with the outcome of the rugby match than with Conor’s whereabouts.

‘Some boys don’t play rugby, Walter! What about those boys?’

Ned’s suspended from school and learns that Conor’s missing. He jumps out of the car while his father’s driving him home and goes to find Conor. After apologising profusely, Ned manages to convince him to come back and play the match.

‘It’s my team if you’re playing on it.’

Unfortunately, Pascal is still determined to be the absolute worst and tells Conor there is no place for him on the team. The following scene where the players quit the team one by one in protest of the coach’s homophobia is fucking awesome.

The movie ends with Conor and Ned as best friends, and Sherry introducing the headmaster to his boyfriend at the match.

Overall, this movie was truly lovely. There is no romance, only friendship and solidarity amidst all the shite thrown at the main characters and the ending is utterly wonderful and feel-good.

The soundtrack is also absolutely fantastic. This one in particular is great.

Recommended for everyone!