Stargirl’s quirkinesses suddenly makes her a popular at school. She makes a surprise appearance at the school football game singing The Beach Boys’ Be True to Your School during halftime. Her performance is just what the Mudfrogs needed to win for the first time in a very long time. Stargirl instantly becomes a good luck charm. In fact, the cheerleaders take her in as their own, and the football team heads to the championships.
In the meantime, Leo and Stargirl become close, as in kissing close. Life is great until during the championship game, a player from the opposing team is severely injured. Stargirl runs out to hold the hand of the player as he’s transported to the hospital. In the ultimate act of compassion, and betrayal, Stargirl is shunned by the entire school. Now Leo must choose between Stargirl or his school.
“Hitting on themes of loyalty, compassion, being friendly, and self-esteem…”
It’s at this moment of compassion that Stargirl becomes a fantastic movie. Hitting on themes of loyalty, benevolence, being friendly, and self-esteem, Stargirl offers a powerful message to the young that’s sweet and sincere. The story is portrayed realistically and is not exaggerated in that Disney Channel way. It’s a perfect story for the tween-set.
Amazingly, the main stars of Stargirl are the best part of the film. Verchere and VanderWall give good, honest performances. They’re never over the top in its drama or wink at the camera funny. They play teens, who are on the fringe of the popular group but not played with clique-ish cliches. Giancarlo Esposito makes an appearance as the archeologist Archie, the only adult link between Leo and Stargirl’s past.
The inherent weakness of Disney’s Stargirl is that the first hour is a long, laborious setup which leads to a fantastic ending, and this shift into the second act comes out of nowhere. In other words, you’re going to be bored wondering where this story is headed for the first hour. Be patient. It drags big time, but its heartfelt story of acceptance of oneself and others is essential to hear. It would be a shame if you gave up.
Disney’s Stargirl premiered on Disney Plus.
"…a long, laborious setup which leads to a fantastic ending..."