Updated: Aug 24
When sweeping across the trailer for this young lovers tale, I had to double take that I wasn't witnessing Timothée Chalamet swishing his hair into the school gates. I was wrong - as actor Austin Abrams takes the lead in this timely romantic drama. Being one of Amazon original's, my expectations of gushy poem speeches and rainy arguments cringed in my thoughts. But director Richard Tanne took a stance with this 2020 movie and shocked me with his take on a high school tale.
This film has a real sense of investigation within the characters that leads you from start to finish. Mainly deriving from the lead female Grace, played by the stunning Lili Reinhart, as an audience member you're left with very little to grasp about her previous life. The heartbreaking storyline of her grief and loss from losing her high flyer boyfriend was a rare depiction for a usually light hearted and gimmicky genre. The script excelled in the performances from the actors and gave meaning to the story with powerful lines such as "Adults are just scared kids that are lucky enough to make it out of limbo alive. "
The most outstanding scene within the 90 minutes was when Henry followed Grace one evening, glaring at her loneliness on the tracks at school, as she collapsed frantically hitting her injured leg in anguish. It stood out viewing a female disabled lead depressed and lost, as not many directors are yet to choose this character for any teenage flicks, giving it an applause in gender equality across the board. The colour and grading of the film also gave a warm autumn feel that followed the emotion of the narrative throughout.
As an actor, Austin Abrams has a far stretch to go until his crying scenes win global awards. There were moments within the movie that gave you the impression an on set make up artist had been summoned to trickle Evian across his cheeks. There was bound to be some cheesy lines hidden in the script; it is a teenage rom com after all. Grace's monologues seemed to unveil these when she expressed herself as a messed up kid. It didn't seem necessarily for this film as her characters secrecy drove the energy of the emotion throughout without having to wash speeches of needing to be fixed across every rocky scene.
If you're open to viewing a high school drama that shakes up the norm cliches we are used to cheerleading towards, then watch this movie in awe. It's a far-reaching movie in it's attempt to review grief and loss that a teenager endures, something that seems so hidden between the walls of a their enclosed bedroom. It's not the most hopeful film in terms of love, but it showcases true compassion that every audience can relate to and relish in your teenage years of raw emotional pain.