Netflix’s Hello, Goodbye and Everything in Between follows the rise and decline of a senior year love using more montages than I knew was possible. I was once a young person, and even then, I’m not sure I would have liked this movie.
In the movie, Claire (Talia Ryder) is a determined high school senior who is not interested in getting attached to a boyfriend. Then, she meets talented, loveable Aidan (Jordan Fisher) and they hit it off immediately. The pair agrees to date only until they go to college, but breaking up proves harder than Claire imagined. Their best friends, Stella (Ayo Edebiri) and Scotty (Nico Hiraga) are along to make memories too.
Not to mince words, I hated this movie. The cast overacts, the plot points are entirely predictable, and so much of it looks like a Noxema Ad, to borrow a dated reference. The overall tone and quality is that of a Hallmark movie. If that’s your favorite kind of movie, I suggest this to you, with no judgment implied. I only really like this kind of movie around the holidays and suffered through, feeling no connection to the characters and rolling my eyes a lot. You do you, reader; if you like feel-good romances, this movie is of acceptable quality.
Hello, Goodbye and Everything in Between was directed by Michael Lewen and written by Amy Reed and Ben York Jones, based on the book by Jennifer E. Smith. It runs 1 hour 22 minutes and is rated TV-14.
Next, I turned to Amazon Prime for what I thought was just a comedy, Emergency. This movie certainly has comedic elements, but also features plenty of drama about friendship and racism. The story starts as a buddy comedy about Kunle (Donald Elise Watkins), who has just gotten into Princeton, and Sean (RJ Cyler), who wants to give them an epic night to remember, getting them on their college’s wall of fame. Just as they are getting ready to hit the frat parties, the pair discovers a girl—Emma (Maddie Nichols)—passed out on the floor of Kunle’s house. His roommate, Carlos (Sebastian Chacon), has no idea how she got there. Kunle thinks they should call 911, but Sean is adamant that if two black men call 911 about a white girl drunk on their floor, it will not work out for them. Instead, Sean, Kunle, and Carlos start on a disastrous night, trying to get Emma to the hospital. Meanwhile, Emma’s sister, Maddy (Sabrina Carpenter), and her friends, Alice (Madison Thompson) and Rafael (Diego Abraham), try to track her down.
Emergency takes on the “it’s not what it looks like” comedy trope but gives it a potentially deadly consequence. In doing so, the movie creates a really uncomfortable series of events. To start, the guys transporting Emma from location to location trying to help her secretly looks like Weekend at Bernie’s but with an unconscious teenage girl. That image is totally problematic, which of raises the stakes, even if I did not like it at all.
The story drags along through the trio’s attempts to get Emma off their hands. Still, there was enough tension in that plot that I wanted to know what was going to happen, particularly after Maddy got closer to finding them. The last half-hour is worth sitting through the meandering sections, as the climax is not only breathtakingly suspenseful, it also features a really striking image of why Sean was afraid to call 911. One Black guy, two white girls, and two Mexicans get pulled over, bad decisions are made in an emergency, and one person specifically ends up face down on the pavement. In the aftermath, there are some really touching moments of friendship and the writers do an outstanding job of wrapping things up without brushing the heightened emotions of the night away. The cast, particularly Cyler, Watkins, and Chacon give moving and subtle performances in these intense scenes.
Emergency manages to be a movie about modern racism in the vein of Sorry to Bother You, Blindsided, and Get Out while also having the more lighthearted elements of a comedy about college kids. If you hang in there through the first act, it really pays off.
Emergency was directed by Carey Williams and written by K.D. Dávila. It runs 1 hour 45 minutes and is rated R for pervasive language, drug use, and some sexual references.
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