Stargirl, directed by Julia Hart and written by Kristin Hahn, Jordan Horowitz and Jerry Spinelli, author of the novel it is inspired by, is one of the movies launched exclusively on the new Disney Plus platform with Grace VanderWaal, Graham Verchere, Giancarlo Esposito and Shelby Simmons, among other artists.
Disney Plus catalogue arrived on March 24th in Italian homes with a truly exceptional entertainment schedule: along with the Disney classics, as well as for the premiere of the remake of Lilli and the Tramp, unreleased titles have been included, coming directly on Disney.
Julia Hart directs a movie for the everybody, which focuses on adolescence, growth and self-discovery. These themes are old acquaintances for the American director: his debut film, Miss Stevens, was a demonstration of cinematic sentiment and intelligence that also involves the story we tell you today.
Stargirl: teen movie (and more) exclusively on Disney
Based on the original novel by Jerry Spinelli, written 20 years ago (which you can easily find on Amazon, even in ebook), the small-screen adaptation tells the story of Stargirl, a young teenager whose personality transforms the heart of a high school in Arizona… and the life of Leo.
Stargirl: a movie for all ages (no spoilers)
Grace VanderWaal (Stargirl) and Graham Verchere (Leo) are the protagonist in this teen movie in which we adults can also see reflected the phases of our early adolescence: the crush of first love, uncertainty about the future, the evolution of friendship and, of course, fears. Above all the fears: those that kept us then anxious and that now, with maturity, we observe in teenagers with tenderness. Even the fears for those who left us petrified by pride, love, anger and, ultimately, ignorance.
The movie is based on the original novel (it was a bestseller in the United States, becoming one of those readings that mark adolescence) and talks about the relationships between high school teenagers of 20 years ago: perhaps it lacks a little adaptation to the days of today (there are no social media, mobile phones, technology in general, which nevertheless are a substantial part of the life of today’s teenagers) so that today’s teens remain the public identifying with the protagonists. Despite this, the plot is deep and touching, even without temporal reference.
Delicately, Stargirl offers silence for reflection, initiating precise dialogues that avoid the dangerous condescending tone and leave the viewer the opportunity to judge themselves. Defending one’s identity outside of external opinions is a stimulus more than enough to justify its liberation in the age of social networks, the appearance and the terrifying emptiness in which we live.
It’s not the quintessential teenage drama, but it has timeless interweaving and offers a narrative in which it’s easy to get involved, all made less heavy by Stargirl’s ukulele aka Grace VanderWaal. The film is also suitable for preteens or school-age children, perhaps accompanied by an adult to answer any questions about the relationships between the various characters.
Stargirl also talks about bullying (mini spoiler)
Stargirl begins with the soundtrack by Rob Simonsen that accompanies us through the desert landscapes of Arizona while the voice of Leo (Graham Verchere) introduces us to the plot. Leo’s life was not easy: he lost his father when he was a child, moved to Arizona and the reception at school (with various episodes of bullying) forced him to hide the boy in love with his father who lived inside him. This is precisely the key to reading this movie: self-knowledge, self-acceptance, judgment and personality formation. In a word: growth.
Grace VanderWaal was the winner of America’s Got Talent 11 (in 2016): her lyrics, her voice and her sweetness have been around the world.
Stargirl (not the character, but the movie itself) is, in essence, Grace VanderWaal and her inexhaustible charisma. The choice of the protagonist was not only a success, but the hallmark that makes this film more than an eye-catching story.