Iris Deerborne (Kara Hayward) is a shy, reclusive girl who can’t say she has any real friends. She’s constantly belittled by her mother, Francie (Jordana Spiro) all the other girls at school make fun of her and even the boys at her school see her as a figure of fun rather than the blossoming young woman that she’d hope they’d see instead.
Then one day while walking to school she is harassed by a group of boys – and that’s when Maggie Richmond (Liana Liberato) turns up and her rebellious, outspoken attitude starts to have an effect on Iris as they become close friends. However, it turns out that both girls are hiding sides of themselves that they wish would come bursting out and with each other’s help they soon start to become the people they always wanted to be.
To the Stars is a coming of age drama set in the Sixties that tells the story of two young women looking to find themselves in the world. The hyperreal production values and its generous scattering of clichés all paint a picture of the Sixties, perhaps in a knowing way. Thankfully though, this rose-tinted version of what some people would call ‘a simpler time’ has enough underneath the surface to say more about its characters.
All the cast play their roles very well and despite the feeling that the audience may have seen it all before, To the Stars plays it straight for the most part to lull the audience into a false sense of confidence before its brutal and honest final act.
We think of how things used to be back in a time where we think prejudice and hatred were more prevalent, so having To the Stars be a period piece may suggest that it’s very much of its time.
However, it may just be that the filmmakers are reminding its audience of a time that some either remember fondly or a time that others never experienced, not realising that those days were not as black and white as they have read in books or seen on television. Despite the clichés of the frumpy girl in glasses turning into a beautiful young lady and the reckless jock spiking the punch at a school dance,
To the Stars wants to remind us that however bad we think things may be now, back then there were times where it felt like there was nobody there to support those who felt differently.
To The Stars is available now on iTunes, Amazon, Google Play, Sky, Virgin and Chili.
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