Review | Stargirl (Disney+)

Thomas joined the Disney+ revolution to review Stargirl

Disney Plus is now available in several European countries and there’s plenty of movies to enjoy and discover among them are wonderful some Disney Plus originals. One of them is Stargirl directed and co-written by Julia Hart, starring Grace VanderWaal, Graham Verchere, Darby Stanchfield, Karan Brar, and Giancarlo Esposito. It’s based on the acclaimed novel of the same name by Jerry Spinelli.

Stargirl | Disney+

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Synopsis:

A boy becomes intrigued by a mysterious and quirky student named Stargirl and spends his time trying to know more about her.

The movie I was the most looking forward to on this streaming service was Stargirl. I often enjoy these coming-of-age movies, they’re uplifting stories and from the look of the trailer, this one looked very interesting. I can say I wasn’t disappointed, I loved it. It has this timeless message of staying true to yourself and I think it’s very important. It’s something young people need to hear but also more generally it’s a lesson everyone should learn. It’s a movie for the whole family! Stargirl is the character who represents this message, from the start, she is the one who is herself and who doesn’t hide who she is. And on the contrary, you have Leo who decided to “disappear” so people don’t notice him. Meeting Stargirl is what will eventually lead him to change and in the end embracing that message.

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It’s not just a coming-of-age story but also a romance as Leo falls in love with Stargirl. Unlike other teen romances, this one has a different ending and its execution is perfect, which is a nice breath of fresh air! It’s usually, by the end of the movie that the two characters get together while in this one, Leo and Stargirl get together early in the movie while in the end, she has moved to another town and he is going to college. And the thing is, it’s not sad because Leo found himself thanks to Stargirl and he’ll never forget her. That makes a really beautiful and powerful ending.

This movie is Grace VanderWaal’s first acting gig and hopefully, it’s the start of a good career because she shines on the screen. Stargirl is a character who brings joy to everyone, a kind of guardian angel and that’s exactly what Grace delivers. Graham Verchere also delivers an engaging performance and I think a lot of young people will resonate with his character. It’s these down-to-earth and endearing performances that are important for coming-of-age movies to have your audience invested in the characters.

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Giancarlo Esposito is often playing villains (you can catch him on Disney Plus in The Mandalorian as the villain Moff Gideon), here he plays what I would call the “wise voice” for Leo. My favorite quote from the movie is the one below said by Esposito’s character Archie:

“You think things have to be real or magic, but the best things are both.” 

It’s an elegant quote and also very true. I loved seeing Esposito in this role, it suits him just as villains suit him. He’s a multi-talented actor.

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This movie is also a musical and features a good number of songs interpreted by the talented Grace VanderWaal accompanied by her ukelele. She has a melodious singing voice! She warms everyone’s heart with her songs. I also want to mention Graham Verchere, he delivers a charming cover of Just What I Needed (by The Cars). The musical aspect is also what makes it so special in terms of coming-of-age movies. Having songs from Big Star and The Cars is also a clever way to make discover these classics to the younger generation. Watch the credits for additional songs but also because there is a little post-credit scene. And let’s not forget the score, Rob Simonsen delivers beautiful music that blends nicely with the atmosphere of the movie.

From director Julia Hart, I had previously seen Miss Stevens which I definitely recommend if you haven’t seen it. I really like her directing style, she knows how to capture emotions from her characters and the settings. With Stargirl, she has been able to give a new life to coming-of-age movies with it having a different style of romance and also being a musical.

Final Thoughts:

4/5 It’s a beautiful and uplifting coming-of-age movie with wonderful songs and a timeless message of staying true to yourself. Grace VanderWaal shines in her acting debut with Graham Verchere at her side, down-to-earth and endearing performances. It’s also not your typical teen movie so it’s a real breath of fresh air!

 

Stargirl is streaming on Disney+ NOW!

 

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Thomas Storai is the Senior Collectables Correspondent for Future of the Force. He is passionate about Star Wars, Marvel, DC, the Wizarding World of Harry Potter and a wide range of movies. Follow him on Twitter @ThomasStorai where he uses the force frequently!

 

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