Some movies really touch the soul and remain with us, no matter how much time has passed. This is the case with “All the Bright Places”, directed by Brett Haley and based on the novel by Jennifer Niven, which teaches us to love life and, at the same time, shows us the ghosts we all carry inside. Fighting them and learning to roll with the punches, is part of our lust to stay alive, although sometimes, in order to this, we need help. The movie, released in Spain and Argentina with the title “Violet and Finch”, is one of those films we really need to watch and a veritable jewel in the Netflix crown during times of lockdown, although, I feel obliged to warn you, if you do hit play, you’d better make sure you’re in your happy place, because this is by no means a feel-good easy watch, and although it is full of life, it also has its fair share of darkness.
You might remember Justice Smith from the Netflix musical series “The Get Down” (2016–2017) and he’s back here again in all his glory. The American actor, born 24 years ago in Los Angeles, who also appeared in “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom” and “Pokémon Detective Pikachu”, is naturalness personified. And what can we say about Elle Fanning?, the younger sister (22) of also actress Dakota Fanning, who thus far, we’ve seen in “Super 8” and both “Maleficent” movies, alongside Angelina Jolie. Together they form the perfect duo. Two young people struggling with the emotional and physical scars of their past who meet to save each other’s life, and where love, innocence and purity play a fundamental role.
The central theme of the story is a taboo subject few films dare to touch on: suicide. The Netflix series “13 Reasons Why”, already sparked controversy for the same reason, and now, the platform invites us once again to reflect on life and death. Can anything be overcome? Is it possible to see light where there is only darkness? This is often the question we ask ourselves at the most difficult times: the death of a loved one, divorce, after a miscarriage… After a hard knock often comes a process of desolation that can at times catapult us into the depths of despair. As such, this is a necessary film from the perspective of living in that it’s the small details in life, those fleeting moments, in our surroundings where we rekindle the desire to live again.
Violet cannot face the loss of her sister in a car accident and Finch is the angel who comes to save her. Together, they represent one of those coincidences that cross our paths for some reason. We’re lost, we can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel and then, suddenly, something or someone appears to fill our lives with hope. After all, that’s part of why we’re all here really, isn’t it? To rise from the ashes when we hit a brick wall, crash, and burn. To embrace that which makes us happy, and since the beginning of time, love has always been one of our greatest sources of happiness. The English poet Alfred Tennyson once wrote, ‘Tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.’ and “All the Bright Places” rubber stamps that.