All the Bright Places (2020)

All the Bright Places
Director: Brett Haley
Writer: Liz Hannah, Jennifer Niven
Based on: Jennifer Niven‘s novel
Cast: Elle Fanning, Justice Smith, Alexandra Shipp, Kelli O’Hara, Luke Wilson, Keegan-Michael Key
Seen on: 6.3.2020

Content Note: suicide, mental illness, domestic violence

Plot:
Finch (Justice Smith) is going for a run one night when he finds Violet (Elle Fanning) standing on the ledge of a bridge. He talks her down, but from then on, he can’t help wanting to help her. When their geography teacher gives them the assignment to explore Indiana’s sights in pairs, Finch sees the opportunity to partner up with Violet. She reluctantly agrees and they start their tours. But Finch, labelled a freak at school, has some problems of his own.

All the Bright Places looks like a “normal” teen romance film, but it goes pretty dark – darker than you expect from the look of it. Which is probably my biggest criticism of it, because other than that, it treats a difficult topic with a lot of care, albeit not always perfectly.

The film poster showing Violet (Elle Fanning) and Finch (Justice Smith) leaning in for a kiss.

[SPOILERS]

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Every Day (2018)

Every Day
Director: Michael Sucsy
Writer: Jesse Andrews
Based on: David Levithan’s novel
Cast: Angourie Rice, Justice Smith, Jeni Ross, Lucas Jade Zumann, Rory McDonald, Katie Douglas, Jacob Batalon, Ian Alexander, Sean Jones, Colin Ford, Jake Sim, Nicole Law, Karena Evans, Owen Teague, Hannah Alissa Richardson, Debby Ryan, Maria Bello
Seen on: 20.6.2018

Plot:
Every day, A wakes up in a different body. It’s always the body of somebody as old as them, but it’s never the same body twice. Ever since they can remember, this has been their existence, and A is pretty much resigned to it by now, never telling anybody about it in the 17 years they have existed this way. That is, until they wake up in Justin’s (Justice Smith) body and meet Justin’s girlfriend Rhiannon (Angourie Rice). The two spend a magical day together and A realizes that they might just have found a life they are not willing to let go all that easily.

Every Day was nice and it did manage to get rid of some of the things that I criticized about the novel, but it still wasn’t as radical as I would have liked it to be – or as the story or the main character would have demanded it to be.

Film poster for Every Day, showing a couple kissing on a beach.
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Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom (2018)

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom
Director: J.A. Bayona
Writer: Derek Connolly, Colin Trevorrow
Based on: Michael Crichton‘s book (plus sequel)
Sequel to: Jurassic Park, The Lost World: Jurassic Park, Jurassic Park III, Jurassic World
Cast: Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard, Rafe Spall, Justice Smith, Daniella Pineda, James Cromwell, Toby Jones, Ted Levine, Jeff Goldblum, BD Wong, Geraldine Chaplin, Isabella Sermon
Seen on: 13.6.2018

Plot:
After Jurassic World was closed down, the remaining dinosaurs are roaming Isla Nubar and things should be calming down. But then the volcano on the island becomes active and threatens the last remaining living dinosaurs. Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard), by now head of the Dinosaur Protection Group, can’t let that happen. She contacts Owen (Chris Pratt) despite their differences because she knows she needs his help to save the dinos. But they are not the only ones interested in them.

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom was about as messy as Jurssic World. If it wasn’t for the dinosaurs, I’d say that it isn’t worth watching at all. But dammit, if the dinosaurs aren’t pretty.

Poster for Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, showing a T-Rex roaring over a human.
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Paper Towns (2015)

Paper Towns
Director: Jake Schreier
Writer: Scott Neustadter, Michael H. Weber
Based on: John Green‘s novel
Cast: Nat Wolff, Cara Delevingne, Austin Abrams, Justice Smith, Halston Sage, Jaz Sinclair, Jay Duplass, Ansel Elgort
Seen on: 6.8.2015

Plot:
Quentin (Nat Wolff) has been in love with Margo (Cara Delevingne) since she moved in across the street. They were friends for a while, but now nearing the end of high school, they both move in different circles now. Then one night, Margo climbs into Q’s bedroom and takes him and his car on a revenge trip against her ex-boyfriend. Q is exhilarated and has hopes for Margo again. But then she is gone, run away from home as she has several times before. But Q finds clues she’s left where she might have gone to and decides to go on a roadtrip with his best friends Radar (Justice Smith) and Ben (Austin Abrams) to find her.

If this wasn’t based on a book by John Green, I probably wouldn’t have seen it at all. But since it is, I had hopes that the wouldn’t play the manic pixie dream girl trope quite as straight as the trailer suggested. I was correct in thinking that, although they don’t manage a complete subversion of the trope. But at least it’s entertaining and sweet and it tries.

Paper_Towns

[SPOILER]

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