Struck by Lightning Movie Review
Kidzworld checks out Chris Colfer’s relatable new dark comedy film “Struck by Lightning”
By: Lynn Barker
If you were an unpopular, talented writer stuck in a small town, dying to get out of high school and go to the college that can launch your career, would you stoop at blackmailing your mean classmates to write for the literary magazine that could help with your “escape”? That’s what Chris Colfer’s character does.
“I Was Dead”
Narrating from beyond the grave after being struck by lightning, smart, talented teen Carson Phillips (Chris Colfer) tells us about his last few weeks of life. We learn that his mom (Allison Janney) and dad (Dermot Mulroney) are divorced and his mom is hitting the bottle. Grandma (Polly Bergen) has Alzheimer’s and nobody at school likes or understands him sooo Carson pretty much hated his reality.
At school, Carson runs the mega-unsuccessful school paper and his Writer’s Club “members” never write anything. His only friend is Malerie (Rebel Wilson) a sweet but ditzy “writer/camera buff” who copies famous literary works as her own and loves documenting everything she sees at school on video. Only the popular kids run the yearbook and they include a “ho-cheerleader” (“Modern Family’s” Sarah Hyland), a holier than thou chick (“Suburgatory’s Allie Grant), a druggie and a gay couple; one member obvious as the drama club Pres but the other a big jock still trying to pass as straight.
Pass to the Future
While things on the home front heat up with dad’s new pregnant girlfriend (hot Christina Hendricks of “Mad Men”) pissing off mom, Carson learns more and more secrets his evil classmates are hiding and, when the school guidance counselor advises him to start a literary magazine to impress the admissions committee at Northwestern, the college he simply must get into, Carson starts to formulate a plan.
Operation Clovergate: The Plan
With Malerie as his ally, Carson decides to blackmail his classmates to get them to write for and promote his new literary magazine. He’ll tell on the gay guys so they comply. He’s seen the ho cheerleader in action with the coach and Malerie has it on tape.. check! The supposed foreign exchange student isn’t foreign and a druggie is caught with grass. The literary staff is born! As Malerie says. “Write for us or we’ll spread this (stuff) like Nutella!”
Writing and Liking It….Sorta
The blackmailed writing staff actually starts writing and they discover that, hey, it’s good creative release and they might even like it. Looks like things might work but when Carson argues with the principal, the whole school is banned from leaving campus and everyone hates him. Now they won’t buy the magazine. Making things worse, Carson learns that he was accepted by Northwestern but his mom hid the letter hoping that he wouldn’t be disappointed by a rejection. Thus he never confirmed and was dropped!
Carson donates all the literary magazines to his grandma’s home and writes another story for his grandma. He realizes he did accomplish a few things then…. he’s literally struck by lightning and killed. He comments that “you become popular once you die” but the kids are still mean. He wraps things up by telling us “Thank God for dreams, drive and focus. Life, without a goal or dreams, isn’t worth living”. He did have that.
Chris Colfer is really good as opportunist, ambitious Carson who does help those around him lead a better life. Unlike the Kurt character on “Glee”, Carson isn’t quite so optimistic and accepting about everything. He strikes back and when we see the messed-up home life he comes from, we understand why and root for him. Some of what he does is negative but we admire him for being just about the only teen in town to have a dream and try to make it come true! The character isn’t portrayed as gay or straight. This isn’t an issue that needs to be tacked onto the interesting Carson character. You wonder how much bull he can take before he explodes on his own…. or is struck by lightning.
The dialogue, most written by Chris, is very witty and hilarious. We’re sure the excellent Rebel Wilson contributed plenty of zingers as well. The well-developed characters are both typical of students you know but quirky and off center as well. Chris collected an amazing cast and each actor is just excellent in his or her role; a perfect stew of mismatched and believable humanity.
The film tackles some heavy issues that many of you might relate to but the humor will jerk you back from all the serious vibes, making for a really well-balanced and entertaining movie experience. If Struck by Lightning is a sample of what talented Chris is capable of as a writer, then we can’t wait to see more from him! Let’s go 4 stars.
Struck by Lightning Movie Rating: