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All The Bright Places Review: It Is Disappointingly Banal!

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All The Bright Places (Netflix)

Starring Elle Fanning, Justice Smith

Directed by  Brett Haley

Rating: **(2 stars)

Here  is a fine-on-paper film  that confirms  my  worst  suspicions.Books are  best left read. Putting them on  film requires far  more skill than this film’s director seems to possess.

All The  Bright Places is laudable for its theme of  being healed by  healing someone who needs your support more than you do. Its heart is in  the  right place.  Sad to say, not much else is in place in this  film about visiting  bright places , emotionally and geographically.

It sure takes time in getting there,as the broken Violet(Elle Fanning) is nurtured and courted  by  the even more broken Finch(Justice Smith).  One has  lost her  sister  in a car accident, and though I liked the way she is  brought back to  automobility  by her adamant  beau,the sequence  where Violet gets into the car for her  first  post-tragedy  drive  is as stretched out as  the yawns  that you don’t even try to suppress(advantage  of home-viewing,as  for the  disadvantages, let’s not even  go there).

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 The film opens with Violet perched on  the brink of  a bridge  ready to take the leap.She  probably knows what we  don’t. That this  film isn’t going anywhere. In a sequence  highly reminiscent  of Siddharth Anand’s  Anjaana  Anjaani, Finch  reaches just in time to dissuade  the  suicidal  girl from taking the plunge.Ranbir Kapoor isn’t amused.

 From this somber beginning the  film fails to build  a plausible  relationship between  two broken  youngsters mainly because I  saw  no chemistry  between  Fanning and Smith. They looked like two  people exploring the dark territory of selfpity rather than  two bright individuals seeking a common ground.As for the supporting cast on the school campus they looks like youngsters auditioning for Dance India Dance  featuring foreigners for a change.

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 By  the time the inevitable  tragedy  occurred I  had no interest in these two  bereft souls. Because  the screenplay was more lost than they  could ever be. On the plus side, the greenery  and  tranquility  of suburban America is  ably framed.But not one  emotion in this made-to-order designer love story seemed  genuine.Even the  conversations between Finch and his  shrink sound like something Woody Allen  would write on a moody  Monday morning and  throw into the  garbage before starting again.

Everyone  deserves a second chance. Not the  director  of this film. The  novel’s author Jennifer  Niven should take director Brett Haley to task for  squeezing out every ounce of life abs  breath from the original material. The screen  adaptation is inexcusably inert.

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