So I heard going in that this was like Ghost but with kids. I suppose you could sort of say that, but without the feeling, the nuance or the humour.
Alexandra Shipp plays Riley, a young girl about to go off to college to study Law. She is head over heels in love with Chris, your typical guy with a motorbike from the other side of town. He is played by Nicholas Hamilton who I knew looked so familiar, turns out he played Henry Bowers in the two It movies that came out in the last few years. He was exceptional in those films; this doesn’t exactly stretch his skills in any way.
Riley and Chris are in a terrible car accident in which Chris was killed, Riley struggles to move on and finds that she can connect with Chris through her drawings. When she draws him in places that meant something to them, she can hear and see him. As you can imagine, this is not practical and is fairly unhealthy for her. This is your typical YA tragedy paint by numbers, it is exactly what you would expect from the genre and the plot is fairly predictable. Chris has his own afterlife mentor in the form of DeRon Horton’s Jordan who shows him the ropes. Famke Janson is unrecognisable as Chris’ mother; I really could not tell it was her for most of the film (she has had some very unfortunate work done on her face). I think my main issue with this is the lack of connection to the characters or the plot. I really didn’t feel much for the characters, there are a lot of scenes that are traumatic and should be tugging at the heart strings but things moved along so quickly I didn’t have to time to feel anything, the film is barely an hour and a half, which these days is pretty short, saying that there wasn’t really much you could add.
Another issue which effected connection here was the choices for the soundtrack, in moments of high emotion the scene would cut and move onto something new, and an upbeat track would start, immediately pulling you out of it. I don’t think smart choices were made here; they could have had a much bigger impact. I think both leads have great potential and I think they could do some amazing work. This unfortunately is not a film that pushes them, it is too formulaic for that, but I really think they have a lot to offer.
I’m sure this film will find its audience, I am just not part of that audience anymore, it was about halfway through that I came to the conclusion I am getting old and I have definitely outgrown young adult films. The relationship between the leads is something I can imagine totally shipping at the age of 14 or 15, however it turns out I am just not young enough for certain films. If YA is your thing though this would probably be worth checking out.
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