We often miss people who make the greatest impression on us. For a prominent part of our life, it is our parents but later, we find our world in a completely different person, in a stranger. Like many of us, evolving from teen-age, the narrator of Stargirl, Leo Borlock is inspired by a free-spirited girl in his school. The film explores the bonding between Leo and Stargirl while they struggle with the belief of living a non-conforming life.
Directed by Julia Hart, Stargirl is based on the novel of the same name written by Jerry Spinelli. The film plays like a melody while portraying the complex teenage emotions. The music acts as a great outlet for the characters to speak out their inner emotions without the hassle of words.
The narrative tries to establish a selfless helper who aids people suffering from emotional pain. However, Stargirl, the savior helps people anonymously, thus, she remains in shadow. Among many, Leo receives help from Stargirl too. After Leo’s father’s death, the only memory he had of him was a porcupine tie. Though, at his new school, some bullies cut off the tie when he was young. Since then, on his every birthday, Stargirl sends Leo a porcupine tie, anonymously, to cheer him up. But, Leo knows it’s the Stargirl who sends him the gift. It’s intuition. The narrative further explores the bonding between Stargirl and Leo, through a melodious montage where they sing together and play their favorite vinyl records. The whole journey looks pretty cute overall if you have a thing for these kinds of films.
But our greatest virtue becomes our greatest sin. And that’s what happens with Stargirl. Her thankless endeavor of helping strikes back when she helps an injured player from the opposing team during a football game. Her fame, popularity goes down the drain and every student in the school starts blaming her for the loss of the game. The incident creates doubt in Stargirl’s mind that whether her actions as a free-spirited girl who helps people are needed or she is just fooling around.
The film plays on a tone that explores Stargirl’s struggle with her own identity. She at one point conforms to what people want her to be and leaves the Stargirl persona and becomes Susan (her original name), a regular girl. The confusion leads to a revelation with oneself, where Stargirl gives a speech in a debate competition. The particular speech isn’t pointed at anyone, but everyone in general. This speech is a self-confrontation that helps Stargirl to remain Stargirl.
“ I don’t know why I am doing things lately. It’s because we don’t think, we just do. We don’t take a step back and process. Everything’s so instant these days. Dinner in minutes. A thousand photographs in one burst. There is no time to figure out who you are. If you ever see a flower grow, it would change you. It would remind you that real things take time. It’s easy to get confused when we are moving too fast, we think we are doing the right thing when really we’re not. But if we’re lucky, we could find a balance. Just remember that what makes a flower beautiful is how long it took to grow.”Stargirl
Note – Above speech is edited to create a better impact for the readers and ooze out the crux of the notion with clarity.
This speech is everything that tells you about the film. It is also synonymous to the narrative of the film which moves slowly, takes it time to grow but when it is finished, you are sure that you witnessed something beautiful. Leo understands Stargirl’s message and so do we as the viewers. But How much we apply this to our mundane life, is a question worth asking.
Stargirl is a simple teenage narrative that depicts a complex adult world problem. As adults, we are quick to judge and take ages to really understand someone. Stargirl is a person who could be defined by Harper Lee’s quote, “to really understand a person, you have to consider things from his point of view, climb in his skin and walk around in it.” However, the other adults and students around her, aren’t the same. They are too cynical. They live under so many filters that helping them becomes a curse for the person who is trying to help. Yet, as Stargirl felt in the end, we should keep up the good work, ignoring the comments and compliments alike. Leo understands this, and Stargirl’s journey becomes an inspiration for him.
If you are looking for a simple adorable teenage story, which isn’t all about romance, then do watch Stargirl as she enchants you with her beautiful persona and melodious music.
Stargirl is streaming on Disney+ Hotstar.
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