Netflix drama’s refreshingly sober take on teenage mental illness

The film stars Elle Fanning and Justice Smith. (Supplied)
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Updated 03 March 2020

Netflix drama’s refreshingly sober take on teenage mental illness

CHENNAI: The latest Netflix drama, “All The Bright Places,” directed by Brett Haley and adapted from a novel by Jennifer Niven, who also co-scripts, may at first glance look like a teen flick of boy meeting girl, falling in love and what happens next.

But the film goes beyond that to convey how mental illness in young people can often go unnoticed and hence untreated.

Some of those who have watched the 15-certificate movie, released on Feb. 28, have been alerting others on social media to the fact it is not a romcom as the trailer suggests, but something that should have a trigger warning.

Writing on Twitter, one person said: “‘All the Bright Places’ on Netflix is about suicide and mental illness and I hate how the trailer almost framed the story like Violet and Finch are ‘two broken people who are going to fix each other.’ I hope Netflix gives a proper trigger warning before the movie.”

Justice Smith’s Theodore Finch character has a violent side to him and could be expelled from school. And his classmate, Violet Markey (Elle Fanning), is charming and vivacious, but the tragic death of her sister in a car accident has turned her into a recluse.

A year after the tragedy, Violet stands at the edge of a bridge ready to jump when Theodore, who loves to jog, sees her, and gently convinces her to step off. A school writing assignment to travel around Indiana – where the two live – brings Theodore and Violet closer together.

Haley, in a very subtle way, conveys how to cope with abuse and other forms of trauma which adults often do not notice and, remarkably, the film does not use romance as a cure-all for the harsh truths of trauma and mental illness.

Instead viewers follow two teenagers as they deal with life-changing loss with a refreshingly sober touch.

The author uses her own personal story to help teenagers cope with their problems. A tight script and superb direction make viewing engaging – and not just for kids, but also adults.

Both Fanning and Smith are impressive without slipping into a melodramatic mode.


Bollywood actress Priyanka Chopra considers role in Arabic films

Updated 03 August 2020

Bollywood actress Priyanka Chopra considers role in Arabic films

DUBAI: Bollywood actress Priyanka Chopra Jonas revealed in an interview with Africa News this week that she would “love to” star in Arabic films.

“I just don’t speak the language,” said Chopra Jonas. “I think that I would love to be a part of the film industry anywhere. I love my job and I would learn a new language if I have to.”

The 38-year-old producer, who has a couple of Hollywood flicks under her belt, said she is working on an unscripted series with her husband, the American singer and songwriter Nick Jonas.

“I am developing a show with my husband which is for Amazon. It is based on the Indian tradition of sangeet (a music-filled pre-marriage ceremony),” she said.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Felt like wearing a saree. So I did...At home. Miss everyone. @nickjonas

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She is also working on a new series for Amazon, produced by the Russo brothers, and a “buddy comedy” with actress Mindy Kaling.

The UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador and the former Miss World has been using her social media platforms over the past few months to raise awareness about the coronavirus pandemic.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

@nickjonas

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Chopra Jonas, who started her career 20 years ago, has hosted an Instagram session with doctors and experts from the World Health Organization who answered frequently asked questions about the virus.