All the Bright Places (2020) A Review

Another teen drama based on a bestselling YA novel.  I’m not going to go on a rant about how these things are a dime a dozen, but they really are starting to be.

Certificate: 15

Director: Brett Haley

Screenwriter: Liz Hannah, Jennifer Niven (novel)

Starring: Elle Fanning, Justice Smith, Alexandra Shipp

                                                                    Genre: Drama, Romance

Runtime: 107 Minutes

Rating: 3 Stars

Reviewed by: Pearl

On the surface, this is just another of those sappy Teen dramas in the vein of Let in Snow or The Fault in Our Stars.  A film about teens struggling through a tough time and it is all seen through a film of rainbow coloured glasses, and that love will always make everything better, at least for a while.  And I guess this film is exactly that.  But if you are one of those people who likes a good, emotional story, this one will be right up your alley.

Recovering from a family tragedy, Violet is withdrawn and introverted.  The last thing she wants to do is partner up with the class ‘freak’ to do a geography project.  But as it turns out, it may be exactly what she needs, and the more time she spends with him, the more the world starts to feel a little less hard to deal with.

You don’t win any awards for guessing the entire time how this film will end up.  If you have read or seen one story like this you have read/seen them all.  But there are some beautiful moments.  Elle Fanning and Justice Smith both do fantastic jobs here.  Their characters have a lot of emotional weight to carry around, and they quite a few tough scenes to deliver and they both do a great job.  For me Elle Fanning has had a few ups and downs, but this one is definitely an up.  And the only thing I know I have seen Justice Smith in was Detective Pikachu, so this is definitely a different kind of performance for him.

The soundtrack and score really, oddly stood out for me here.  Usually it’s not something I really pay that much attention too, but the music used in this film was just perfect, and they also did a great job of using silence in key moments as well. 

I guess the classic ‘two class odd balls find each other’ trope hasn’t run its course yet because here we are still seeing it.  I don’t imagine this trope will be going anywhere anytime soon.  But it’s 2020 for Pete’s sake, can we maybe get a teen storyline with a little bit of a different feel to it.

 ‘All the Bright Places’ does hit a few nails on the head, but it is also a Carbon copy of a hundred films that came before it.  And I know that a lot of that comes from it’s source material, so I am going to live in hope that one day someone will write something a little different.

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