Starring: Grace Vander Waal, Graham Vercher, Giancarlo Esposito, and Darby Stanchfield.
Directed By: Julia HArt
Where I Watched it: Disney Plus
English Audio Description Available?: Yes
Description Provided By: Deluxe
Description Narrated By: Laura Post
The Plot: A boy (Vercher) narrates a story about this one time he had a free spirit named Stargirl (Vander Waal) that briefly attended his school. Love happens.
What Works: It’s not terrible, but it feels like one of those teen movies we’re now getting because they are based on YA novels. So after you’ve stopped off at the kissing booth to tell all the boys you’ve loved before, you can hear whaat Stargirl has to offer.
Poor Darby Stanchfield is being typecast now as a widow. She’s a widow on Locke and Key, and that is carrying over here too. At least she’s good at it. It’s also weird to see Esposito playing a good guy.
I know Grace won America’s Got Talent, and people enjoy her voice. It’s OK. Graham is fine as the male lead. I’m not the target demo for this, though i used to be. And I still love teen films, as they follow certain predictable beats. For example, this whole film culminates at a dance. Because, of course it does.
So, I should have loved this more. The only reason I watched it was so that I could review Hollywood Stargirl while understanding where that film came from. Well, the first film wraps everything up, so there’s no need for a sequel. I can’t imagine what the sequel is about, since Stargirl is not the main character of Stargirl. Will the sequel be narrated by another boy she falls in love with?
how will the sequel handle the time jump the first one makes at the end to show the passage of time? Probably ignore it.
What Doesn’t Work: There’s a lot here, but again, this film might not work for me, but a 12 year old might love the hell out of this. There are many spoiler versions of why I didn’t like this film, but to cut it short, I didn’t like either of the leads. Stargirl isn’t quirky enough to be so damn quirky that this whole school just stops everything to notice her. A name doesn’t make you quirky, and yes, Stargirl is her name. For over 3/4ths of the movie, she’s referred to as Stargirl, with her last name occasionally attached. Near the end, she reveals that Stargirl technically isn’t her birth name (Thank God), but there’s little explained about why she chose Stargirl in the first place.
She competes as an orator in a speech competition, and her speech is dumb. It’s boring. And she’s a terrible public speaker. She has classmates mad at her because she felt bad for a kid who got injured on the football field. There’s this irrational girl who gets super angry, and is probably the reason the movie ends, because Stargirl’s mantra is basically to do random acts of kindness, and she buys a boy a bike, but that bike was supposed to be sold away because that boy got in an accident with it. Who the fuck was supposed to know that? Stargirl just wanted to do something nice for someone, and she gets the third degree. It’s the kind of argument that a child would make, but an adult would have realized the complexity that she couldn’t have known this massive backstory, or that the bike in question was originally that kids bike.
Is this film terrible? no. But it’s not very well written, and I disliked every single teen character in this film… including Stargirl.
The Blind Perspective: I suppose the audio description was useful in situations like the football game, or to describe what Stargirl looks like, or that she has a rat in her backpack that climbs out sometimes and sits on her shoulder. There are times when the audio description provides richness and context, and Laura Post is always great, but this film isn’t smart enough for you to get lost without it.
Final Thoughts: I’m weighing my options. I don’t really want to see the sequel. i don’t know why there is one. But the whole reason I reviewed this was to review the sequel. i was going to watch them back-to-back, but the first one was so underwhelming, I put offf the sequel. Maybe. i don’t know.
Final Grade: D+