Netflix Releases New Young Adult Romance Movie “All the Bright Places”

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Danielle Abril, Opinion Editor

On Feb. 28, Netflix released Jennifer Niven’s book “All the Bright Places” in its movie adaptation under the same name. Although the plot differs from the book, the depth of the story was certainly not glossed over and this movie will surely rise in Netflix popularity. 

Featuring an unlikely pair of foils, “All the Bright Places” creates a whirlwind of emotions for viewers, as the characters turn out to have a lot more in common than most would think. Violet Markey (Elle Fanning) is hardly recovering from the loss of her older sister. Her boyfriend struggles to connect with her, and she no longer is the social, outgoing girl that she used to be. As her sister’s nineteenth birthday is approaching, she strolls to the bridge where she and her sister got into a car crash, and her sister died. At that moment, Theodore Finch (Justice Smith) is running by. He is a strange boy, renamed by the kids at school as ‘The Freak,’ who has no support but his older sister. His mom is mostly absent, and he has an unfortunate history with his father. He sees Violet and eventually ends up talking her off the ledge. After getting caught doing something unexplainable, she decides she wants nothing to do with him. Finch, however, is fascinated by the good-girl-gone-dark. When their history teacher assigns a project for them to get to know their home state Indiana and refuses to let Violet complete an alternate assignment, they become partners. 

Together, they visit various locations that are unique to Indiana, and Finch brings her to one of his most sacred places, the Blue Hole. Here, Finch admits to his darker past. Besides one bathtub scene at the beginning, the movie is shy to the fact that Finch is fascinated by death. Violet is able to cue this location as one of his spots, as he regularly engages in swimming very deeply into the lake, and pushes up when he has almost no oxygen left. 

Through reciting book quotes and building trusts, the pair completes the assignment and even goes above and beyond, experiencing loss, recovery, friendship, romance and adventure. The pair was unaware that by learning more about Indiana, they would be developing a greater understanding of each other and a greater sense of self. 

As mental illness is something that more teenagers can relate to in the past couple decades, Violet’s strength in overcoming her resent for the things that she once loved shines the light on this story. Additionally, Finch’s ability to break Violet out of her comfort zone, but to not push her too far, models a healthy way to bring about someone’s happiness.

Unlike other chick flicks, one can expect to cry from heartbreak, but also from growth while watching “All the Bright Places.” This film explores topics that are not brought up in a regular young adult romance movie, and does so perfectly.