I read the book, “All the Bright Places” at the baseball field when I was 15. What began as a heartbreaking story of grief and acceptance left me bawling like a baby with snot and tears running down my face. As soon as the movie dropped on Netflix, I was eager to see if it would live up to the book.
“All the Bright Places” is a heartbreakingly beautiful movie about moving on, pain and the harsh reality of mental health.
The movie starts with Violet Markey, portrayed by Elle Fanning, standing on the edge of a bridge. She is discovered by Theador Finch, portrayed by Justice Smith. In his own unique way, he talks her off the ledge and begins an infatuation with the girl he saved.
After learning Violet is grieving the loss of her older sister in a car accident, he begs her to be his partner for a class project. In her desperation to get the project over with, she says yes, and that kick-starts a dual story of healing and hurting.
As Violet heals from the horrors of her past, Finch is actively haunted by his own, nameless demons. While they fall in love, it is not a love story. Just like us watching, Violet is so caught up in her own healing that she doesn't notice Finch’s until it’s too late.
Mental health is so often poorly portrayed in a negative, romanticized light; however, this film shows the harsh reality. Like Violet, some people get better and their brightness is healing. Like Finch, some peoples' demons are too much, but they still provided a light.
This movie intertwines two drastically different sides of a story. I started tearing up ten minutes in and just like reading the book, I sobbed at the end again. You feel their pain. You understand their suffering. It’s difficult to watch someone heal so wonderfully while their counterpart silently suffers but it happens every day.
The world is full of hidden, bright places; we just have to be reminded where to look.
Warning: “All the Bright Places” contains topics of suicide, depression, self harm and other topics.