Review: New movie sheds light on mental health issues

Emma Balint, Co-Editor-in-Chief

Netflix hasn’t always gotten movies about mental health right. For example, their controversial TV Show 13 Reasons Why faced so much backlash that they canceled further production. All The Bright Places, a newly-released “chick flick” of sorts, gives a breath of fresh air into the issues surrounding mental health.

We’re first introduced to the main protagonist of the story, Violet Markey (Elle Fanning), standing on the edge of a bridge contemplating jumping as Theodore Finch (Justice Smith) walks up and begins to talk to her, eventually coaxing her down from the ledge. Eventually, the two begin to hang out more and slowly start to fall in love, but the meaning of the movie goes much deeper than that.

Immediately upon beginning the movie, the viewer is given all the details of Violet’s life as she struggles through the recent tragic death of her sister and is forced to continue on through that trauma. However, viewers are only given a small glimpse into Finch’s life, leaving them wanting more and more of his story as the movie progresses. This pulls the viewers in through the movie and leaves them hanging onto every important detail.

More-so, this movie sheds a healthy light on Mental Health Awareness. This movie depicts two teenagers who are hurting so deeply, hurt just a little bit less. Even though they feel alone at times, it emphasizes just how much love and compassion these teenagers have from all types of people, such as friends, family, counselors, peers, and teachers.
Even amidst the struggle, it shows these two teenagers communicating their need for help and attempting to take control of their hurt even when others aren’t quite ready to hear that. Toward the end of the movie, Violet meets her dad in the kitchen and tells him that she had considered suicide, but is now in the process of healing. Even this short scene proves Netflix’s attempt to portray mental health better.

In a hard way, the movie stresses the importance of checking up on your friends. Even when their actions seem “normal,” check up on them anyway. You never know when just one conversation could change someone’s life.
Through love, pain, and acceptance, the movie creates themes of healing and growing. It deals with a lot of hard issues. It shows teenagers struggling with many terrible things and continuing  to push through the hardships and pain and how to come out alive on the other side.  This movie shows that “there are bright places, even in the dark times.”