Feeling a little meh? All the Bright Places may be just the thing you need to inject some joy into the mundane.
If you’ve yet to watch the 2020 film All the Bright Places, now feels like an appropriate time to take a hiatus from your usual guilty-pleasure binge and give it a go. At first glance it might seem like a strange movie pick. After all watching a film about grief with suicidal themes during a pandemic feels a touch morbid with a dash of depressive and yet it acts as a soothing balm to these tough times. Based on the novel by Jennifer Niven of the same name, All the Bright Places sees outcast Theodore Finch attempt to help Violet Markey deal with the death of her sister. Through their unconventional friendship turned romance the once suicidal Violet learns many valuable lessons about finding joy in the midst of dark times. Touching and whimsical, All the Bright Places leaves you feeling contemplative and inspired without that forced ‘after-school-special’ vibe. Not convinced? Here are six reasons that’ll change your mind. Heads up, minor spoilers ahead.
It’s never really discussed what issues Finch is dealing with. Beyond his tendency to disappear when he experiences his ‘dark moods’ the narrative focuses on Violet’s involuntary quest for healing. However, a few times, throughout the film Finch makes reference to ‘staying awake’. He later explains that when he experiences his dark moods he sometimes goes blank. In order to anchor himself he has coping mechanisms that help him stay present, in other words ‘awake’. Not many can attest to knowing what that feels like but the need to stay present when everything else surrounding you feels chaotic is an important tool to have. Lots of things feel uncontrollable right now and the future may even seem daunting and uncertain but taking things one moment at a time makes things feel a little less heavy.
There is extraordinary in the ordinary
This is definitely something you’ve heard before but it seems even more relevant now that movements are limited to our local area – a place we’re extremely familiar with…or are we? Finch are Violet are tasked with exploring their home state of Indiana for a Geography project. Dispassionate at first, Violet starts to see things from Finch’s eyes, discovering the joy in the most average places proving that perception is everything.
Laughter…and laugh a lot
Laughter is the best medicine, sound familiar? It should, it’s only been drummed into our societal heads since the dawn of time and for Violet and Finn it turns out to be true. Both are weighed down by the heaviness of their troubles but through chasing the highs of life the two get some light relief. Some days a simple smile feels impossible to raise but if you’re looking for a TV giggle fix the sequel to Coming to America may have been pushed back until March but Eddie Murphy’s stand-up comedy show Delirious is streaming on Netflix. A real oldie but definitely a reliable source for laughs.
Wandering is good for the soul
Escaping the drudgery of everyday norms helps inject a bit of life back into Violet and obviously if it’s true for movie characters it has to be true in the real world too right? No one’s suggesting that you go swimming in a ‘bottomless’ river per some quirky, cute dude’s request but wandering may lead you to your own unexpected treasure trove.
Happiness in an inside job
Did I sense your eyes roll after reading that? A potentially cliché line, I know, I know but like many hackneyed phrases it is rooted in truth. To quote one Violet Markey “There are bright places even in the darkest of times and if there isn’t, you can be that bright place with infinite capacities.” Translation, life can be suck-y but you have the power to create your own moments and burst of happiness, if you choose to.