Heartbreak sucks and everybody knows that, so this film does a brilliant job recognizing that and making a film about heartbreak. The only issue is, every filmmaker knows the anguish of heartbreak. What makes a great movie involving this subject matter is setting itself apart from other films like it. This film follows an unnamed protagonist as he tries to get over his first heartbreak. He awakes in his apartment to and finds out that his girlfriend as rented out their apartment to a rambunctious couple who lets him crash there are he figures out his life. Through them he meets new people and changes many aspects to his life but still craves the idea of being with his first true love. Many elements in the story alone can be found in other films, but that doesn’t really matter if the performances are great and the film takes different directions that previous films had not yet taken. The film stays down its one particular path, occasionally veering off and leading the main character off to some new adventure, but nothing grand and no where near mind-blowing.
Despite that, the story is still enough to keep most watching, at least it was for me. I found enjoyment in Chris Lowell’s performance. While not necessarily nuanced, he breathed a good amount of life into a character that seemed to be poorly written in many aspects. The protagonist feels as if he’s supposed to be the loveable loser, but some of the dialogue makes him more as the guy that has no friends and is a little bit weird. Lowell overcame that for the most part and gave a certain draw to the character. The other central character is Rose McIver, who plays his former love, Charlotte Cates. The character seems to be more well thought-out than the protagonist, and McIver does a great job providing the audience with different ways to to feel about her. The only issue is that there is never a point in the film where you completely love her or entirely hate her. While this is more true to real life and how there are very few completely evil people out there, it makes the movie unable to drive out any strong emotion for the viewer. Most of the supporting roles are well written and well performed, but there were no show stealers either.
The film contains some beautiful shots and the scenery in the shots is just a beautiful. The different locations that the characters find themselves in, the lighting used to try to build up different emotions and the range from day to night all lead to a wonderfully shot movie, that is probably the highlight of the film. It’s a shame that the rest of the components couldn’t capitalize on it, but for director Maggie Kiley’s first feature, it’s something to be proud of.
Consensus: Definitely not a film for everyone, Brightest Star is a victim of weak writing and not enough great performances to save it. Beautifully shot and containing several great scenes, the film was missing a spark to make it truly wonderful.
Fun Fact: First Rose McIver performance that I saw was in Power Rangers RPM, a shocking good series of a show I loved when I was a child.