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Rated 2.98 stars
by 161 people

ReelTalk Movie Reviews
Outstanding Teen Tearjerker
by Betty Jo Tucker

In All the Bright Places, high school students Violet Markey (Elle Fanning) and Theodore Finch (Justice Smith) meet and change each otherís lives for the better. Because both are suffering with serious mental and emotional problems, that seems like a miracle.

Violet is depressed over the death of her dear sister in a car accident, and Theodore canít control his anger sometimes or tell people why. Directed by Brett Haley (The Hero) and co-written by Liz Hannah (The Post) and Jennifer Niven (from her novel), this outstanding film impressed me with its honesty, compassion, and sensitive performances by Fanning and Smith, who project amazing chemistry together on screen.

Fanning shows an incredible depth of feeling as Violet slowly emerges from her sad cocoon, and Smith gives Theodore a sizzling energy thatís hard to resist. Watch for the way they look at each other Ė and you will be convinced their budding love is real. Fanning gets better and better in each role. This performance now ranks as one of my favorites, right up there with Mary Shelley. Although I havenít seen Smith (Paper Towns) before, I predict a bright future for him on screen.      

The best part of this movie involves a joint project Violet and Theodore are assigned to work on together for one class. They must visit various locations and write about what each means to them. Appealing cinematography, background music, and dialogue blend together perfectly during these lovely sequences. My two favorite spots are a shoe tree and the highest point in Indiana (which will surprise you). Both represent bright, simple places that evoke joy for this troubled teenage couple

However, be forewarned. Yes, itís fun to watch the charming romance develop between these fascinating lead characters, but All the Bright Places ends up being a first-rate tearjerker. So if you enjoyed The Fault in Our Stars and Earl & Me and the Dying Girl, donít miss this one.             

Deep sadness grips a teenage girl.

Sheís mourning and about to hurl

herself off of a bridge one night.

A teenage boy thinks thatís not right.


A savior he becomes to her.

He helps the girl. Will she endure?

These two become good friends and more.

They seem a couple to adore.


But boy has troubles of his own.

Some days he has to be alone.

And sharing problems he canít do.

The girl needs him to give a clue.


Will she be able to save him?

Or is their love a pointless whim?

ďAll the Bright PlacesĒ moved me so.

Itís a superb teenage angst show.

(Released by Netflix and rated TV-MA by MPAA.)

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