All the Bright Places is both heartbreaking and heartwarming all at once

Róisín Phelan


All the Bright Places captivates viewers with its portrayal of a heartbreaking love story. 

The movie, which was released on Netflix in February is an adaption of the book written by Jennifer Niven. Brett Haley directed this young adult, romantic drama and succeeded in creating a film which is both heartwarming and heartbreaking.

“All the Bright Places” shares the important message that someone can be wonderful, fun, exciting and can also be in pain and struggling at the same time, even if it’s not obvious to see. 

Our two protagonists Violet and Finch have had their fair share of trauma and from the viewer’s eye their mutual pain and sadness are painfully obvious. However to our dismay the two never truly learn the truth about one another until the end of the film. 

When Finch first meets Violet he persuades her not to jump off of a bridge and for the majority of the storyline this sentiment repeats. Finch pushes and bothers Violet until she accepts his friendship, until she starts to have fun. Then takes her out of her comfort zone, has her forget all about her worries and eventually the two fall in love. 

However while Violet is swooning over Finch and the new found happiness he brings her, she misses some of the tell tale signs that his mental health is deteriorating. He displays mood swings and bouts of disappearance. He is obsessive and needs to be in control. He can lash out and become extremely violent. Even his initial focus and interest in Violet after finding her on the bridge was a sign in himself that he understood what she was going through. 

All of this is masked so well by his endearing cheer and spontaneity that he shares with Violet, explaining why it took her so long to realise really how severe his mental state was.

Midway through the film Violet asks Finch, “Where do you go when you disappear?” Referencing his regular physical disappearing acts and also his state of mind, where he seems to become distant and unreachable in his own phase. 

We never really get a straight answer to this question, however that in itself can be a representation of how difficult it was for Finch and how difficult it is for many people across the world, to talk about their mental health.

One of the best decisions Director Haley made was to allow for awkward silences to roll in scenes. This is particularly seen in the beginning of the movie, when Finch and Violet first meet and are still in an awkward, uncomfortable limbo, trying to figure out one another. It really adds to the genuine and endearing quality of their relationship. 

The sound track is also complimentary of the film with one particular original orchestral song by Keegan DeWitt bringing moments of real beauty scenes. 

Segments of the song are played throughout the film teasing the audience and adding a familiar sentimental value to it.

It is not until the very end of the film that we get to hear the final climax of the song, bringing both the song, and the love of Violet and Finch full circle, back to Violet truly finding peace. 

Róisín Phelan

Image Credit: Netflix