In many ways writing a review for a movie like Stargirl is difficult. I didn’t love it. I didn’t hate it. It’s fine but there are a number of things about it that irritated me. If I didn’t have the binary requirements of rottentomatoes I would probably give it some form of meh but I must decide if it is good or bad so let’s talk about the pluses and minuses.
Before we start on the film I must own I was not a big fan of the book by Jerry Spinelli. I found it cloying and annoying but I know many loved the book. If you did, than you should love this movie. If, like me, you didn’t, than you will probably have mixed to negative feelings as they stick pretty close to the book (at least by memory. It has been a few years since I read it).
Anyway, Stargirl is about a young man named Leo Borlock (Graham Verchere) who becomes fixated on a new girl at school named Stargirl (Grace VanderWaal). Stargirl is your classic free spirit that sings with her ukulele (with no microphone!) at the school football games and wears weird clothes. She’s basically a manic pixie dream girl but in teenage form.
Like any MPDG Stargirl exists to help our male character come alive and get over his demons. She has no personal goals or ambitions. We learn almost nothing about her as a character. Is she a guardian angel? Is she an alien or some other kind of mythical creature? Maybe but she exists to help Leo be a better person and I dislike that in female characters. I am aware the tough girl trope can be just as cringeworthy but females are not there to pluck up our lonely males. It’s such a groan-worthy trope that I dislike.
That said, Stargirl has its heart in the right place. The film isn’t trying to make some grand statement on feminism or male/female relationships. They are just trying to make a movie about how a nice girl who see’s the good in people can make a difference. The film’s anti-bullying message is sweet and well done and should ring true to many teenagers.
I liked the chemistry between VanderWaal and Verchere and the supporting cast with actors like Giancarlo Esposito help make Stargirl more than the sum of its parts. The film also loves the Beach Boys just about as much as I do making the soundtrack very enjoyable.
Basically if you watch the trailer for Stargirl and it looks cute than you’ll probably enjoy it. If it looks super cringe-worthy than you probably won’t. It’s as simple as that. I’m in the middle on it but I think I was more annoyed than entertained.
5 out of 10
4 thoughts on “[REVIEW] ‘Stargirl’ or Manic Pixie Dream Girl Teenage Edition”
Good review, Rachel! When I first saw the trailer for ‘Stargirl’, it reminded me of ‘Bridge to Terabithia’, minus the tragic scenario. I haven’t read the book, so I can’t talk about the quality of the story. On my blog, the Gold Sally Awards (the movie awards I created) are currently going on. If you’re interested, here’s the Best Supporting Actress poll:
Fun. I voted!
Thanks for voting! I can’t wait to share the winners on my blog!
I wasn’t crazy about Stargirl, either, though Grace VanderWaal did a really good job as the title character. I will post my review of Stargirl on June 19th.
PS. I have suggestions for movies for Obscure Animation and Muppet May. My suggestion for Obscure Animation is Khumba, a South African CGI movie released back in 2013. I actually reviewed this movie back on Earth Day!
My suggestions for Muppet May include the direct-to-video movies Kermit’s Swamp Years and the TV specials Big Bird in China, Big Bird in Japan, Dog City, and Song of the Cloud Forest.