MRR Review: "Brightest Star"

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After the heartbreaking end of his first love, a recent college graduate sets out to win back the girl of his dreams only to discover a greater journey awaits him.
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Length: 80 minutes
Release Date: January 31, 2014
Directed by: Maggie Kiley
Genre: Comedy / Drama / Romance

"Brightest Star" is the story of an unnamed protagonist played by Chris Lowell as he stumbles through college and love. He fights to understand the controversy of finding a partner and the difficulty of growing up in a world where not everything has a happy ending. As the boy struggles to find his place in the universe, everything slowly becomes clear to him through his own eyes when he learns to look within instead of without for validation.

The story begins with all of the boy's life falling apart around him. He is physically unscathed as his apartment is repossessed, his possessions are displaced and the love of his life leaves him. This sets the stage for the emotional tumult that marks his journey throughout the film. Taking on the role of the wandering naive, the boy must truly find his identity. That is precisely why Lowell's character is never given a name while every other member of the cast is granted a title. The boy is without direction or purpose, having lost his only anchor and identity in life. Thus, he is the blank facilitator of another.

There is one important character that the boy encounters. The Astronomer, played by Allison Janney, is sought by Lowell's character specifically to try to give him clarity in life. His inability to move on and the connection he feels to Charlotte is played out in order to bring the title, "Brightest Star," to full meaning. In other words, he is looking to the heavens as a source of wisdom and meaning. What he finds is that he needs to look closer to earth and into himself for what he really needs in life.

The boy is on a quest to find Charlotte, played by Rose McGiver. Having lost her once before, Lowell's character does everything in his power to find what went wrong and fix himself enough to earn back her affection. The rest of the players in his life try to distract him from this goal, though he does not realize their attempts to sway him are really in his best interest. As a man looking outside himself for meaning, it becomes apparent that he must actually seek a means of realizing his own worth before he is ready to be with anyone.

Every character the boy encounters is similarly an archetype. As he moves from one meaningless job and archetype supporting character interaction to the next, it is easy to see that he is engaged in a very stereotypical coming-of-age and self exploration quest. The path is clearly marked as the boy moves from emotional and economical lows to highs with the musical score following suit. The end result is a positive and self-confident young man who remains nameless but is free to express his true self.

This is a touching comedy, but it is simple in nature. It is easy for audiences to understand and appreciate what is happening on the screen. People easily relate to the boy, as his character runs head-long after the love of his life and throws everything on the line to get her back. At the same time, viewers appreciate the futility and difficulties he encounters as these are all themes and struggles everyone has dealt with before.

"Brightest Star" also does a good job of showing how people are able to overcome extreme emotional trauma and learn from their experiences. Everyone faces break-ups and has to recover from them. People constantly fight to find their true selves, establish identities and create a mark on the world. The boy's quest is largely the same as he gets through school, finds a job and carves out a niche for himself.

It is easy to understand the idea of the boy wanting the universe to guide him. He is always looking outside himself for direction and validation, as many others do when they are lost. As he seeks out new opportunities, he also learns to live without Charlotte and find the answers he needs inside himself.

"Brightest Star" offers viewers an opportunity to see a protagonist fighting to establish the reality of his life and growing into a better person. This story is completely relatable for all audiences. As the boy learns to live for himself and stop seeking the validation of others, so too do people everywhere learn to understand themselves over time. Revealing a way to live outside a relationship and establish an identity, "Brightest Star" proves to be a positive experience for every viewer.

Rating: 3 out of 5