If there’s one perk of social distancing, it’s being able to take advantage of all the new movies streaming. So to kick quarantine off, I’m starting with Disney+’s adaptation of Jerry Spinelli’s hit young adult novel, Stargirl.
The teen drama follows Leo (Graham Verchere), who becomes intrigued with a quirky new girl named Stargirl (Grace VanderWaal), who refuses to fit in. Ukulele in hand, Stargirl teaches him the importance of staying true to yourself.
One of my favorite books as a child, the film does a solid job of bringing the story into the new age. Yes, there are some differences, however, the central themes on non-conformity and owning your quirks are still prevalent.
Of course there is no Stargirl without Grace VanderWaal, who brings an authentic compassion, generosity and earnestness to the role. Is she my dream casting? No. But she adds such a natural sweetness to the role, especially due to her joyous musical performances throughout the film.
Sure, Stargirl isn’t breaking any new ground when it comes to teenage dramas. It’s the same “coming of age” and “be you” messages we’ve been getting for years. This one just feel more “on the nose” and forgettable than others.
But despite its flaws, Stargirl is an adorable watch — especially if you’re at home and need a pleasant, feel-good distraction from all the chaos going on.
Final Thoughts: At the end of the day, I prefer Spinelli’s novel, but Stargirl a cute addition to Disney+ with a timeless message.