When Disney’s big streaming service, Disney+, came out it was supposed to usher in a new series of television and movies without having the hassle of traveling to theatres. These films were supposed to have bigger budgets than the average TV movie. One of those Disney+ released movies is Stargirl, which came out in 2020. I’d like to preface this by stating how big a fan I was of the novel, I loved it and always have. The movie, however, is a little different than the book. The film has the same general idea, the main character Leo talks about his dad and how he always wore the same tie his dad wore in remembrance. This portrayed a more sentimental thing kids may do when their parents die, they try to act as though they are their parents or try to be like them.
Leo is played by Graham Verchere. Now let me get to the character who the movie is named after, Stargirl. Stargirl Caraway is what she goes by even though this is a name she chose for herself instead of her given name. Just like in the original novel it is not known why she chooses that name for herself, all that is known is that she chose it. Stargirl is played by Grace Vanderwaal. Other actors in the movie include Giancarlo Esposito, Karan Brar, Darby Stanchfield, and Damian O’Hare. One thing about this film is it really takes the term high school drama to a new level. No one can get over how caring Stargirl is even to her “competition.”
If you’ve read the book, the film is essentially the same story. Guy meets girl, guy falls for girl, girl does a lot of weird shit, guy pushes girl away, girl comes back pretending to not be herself, girl leaves school forever, etc. It’s an odd thing to say that this is based off of a novel I’ve read over and over again, it just gives you a clearer view of what happens. Now I imagine you’re wondering how the acting is? Well, the acting is actually a lot better than it would’ve been if it were a Disney Channel movie, instead it’s a theatrical quality movie.
Another realization in the film is that Leo seems to figure out early on that Stargirl was the one sending him the ties when he was a kid. It isn’t exactly obvious that this strange girl he meets is the one doing the sending until she starts singing happy birthday to him. I would’ve preferred they made it obvious in the beginning, but it’s the exact same setup as the book so I can’t really complain too much.
There are no boundaries that will stop this story from resonating with the audience. The film is able to reach the older folks like me who read the original book, but it will also reach the young ones who are experiencing this story for the first time. Stargirl is the story of a girl, an odd girl, who cares so much for the world yet the world cannot understand her methods or her ways, and the lessons learned from this story are meaningful. At the end Leo never sees Stargirl again.
From what I hear they are making a sequel which hopefully turns out a lot better than Love, Stargirl which was the sequel to the original novel, but who knows. This story has many places it can go, and we have many things we can do to pass the time waiting for the next adventure and new lessons to be learned. Stargirl is, for better or worse, a film about accepting people for who they are. It’s a good introduction into how unique some people can be, and how they should be treated and respected. I recommend watching this film.