A review of “All the Bright Places”

Kylea M. Tackett, Multi-Media Editor

All the Bright Places (2020) is a film based on the book by Jennifer Niven. It follows the story of Finch, the “freak” who is constantly waiting for his day to die, and Violet, the quiet girl who recently tragically lost her sister. In the beginning of the film, Finch meets Violet standing on the edge of a ledge, overlooking a river that she is contemplating jumping in to. Throughout the movie, it becomes increasingly clearer that Finch suffers from multiple mental illnesses like bipolar disorder and depression. He spirals through several manic episodes, while Violet struggles to support him. The two characters are partnered together for a school project where they are tasked with exploring the many wonders Indiana has to offer. Through this we see Finch’s new and heart wrenching outlook on life, while he helps Violet heal from her past. Unfortunately, in the end we are reminded of reality, as Finch tragically drowns himself in a lake they had previously visited. Violet is left where she started, heartbroken and alone. 

This film does a really good job at showing how real mental illnesses are. Often, mental illness is romanticized by the media, not showing how devastating it can be. Showing not only Finch’s episodes, but the effect it has on the people in his life is a good connection to make. It also makes two key points. One, everyone is fighting a battle you know nothing of, and two, mental illnesses are not all-consuming. There is a side character in the film named Amanda. Amanda suffers from an eating disorder, but no one knows. She keeps her popular girl image up and her suffering quiet. I also like that Finch’s whole personality isn’t his illnesses. He still has a beautiful outlook on life, and it makes his character loveable. My favorite quote from Finch is, “you are all of the colors in one, at full brightness.” I think that without Finch being so in touch with his emotions and his illness, he wouldn’t be able to have this outlook that humanizes him and makes his character so loveable. 

This film was heartbreaking, eye-opening, and overall amazing. It somehow breaks your heart and gives you hope at the same time. If you or someone you love is struggling with a mental illness or going through a rough time, this movie can help you see the beauty and see everything you’d miss out on if you weren’t here.