For all you indie film lovers out there be sure to check out Brian Duffield’s latest work, Spontaneous, based on the story of the same name written by Aaron Starmer, which features Katherine Langford (13 Reasons Why) as Mara, a seventeen-year-old misfit who attempts to navigate both her love life and all those angsty teenage hormones all while trying not to explode. You heard me right. In this, suspiciously well timed, film we deal with an epidemic that targets the seventeen-year-old population of a small suburban community that makes them suddenly combust into a bloody spray of mayhem.
The film tackles all the usual suspects of preachy teenage rom-coms such as depression, drug and alcohol abuse, and first love all while unintentionally, and quite gracefully, reflecting on the Covid-19 pandemic. Though this was neither Duffield’s or Starmer’s intention, they managed to bring us a story that could not have come at a better time. Everything from government intervention, the disruption of one’s own social life, and the buildup of fear and tension spreading throughout this tiny community remind us of our own faults and drawbacks as a nation during the pandemic. That premise alone as well as the sudden bloody explosions will be enough to keep you on the edge of your seats.
No, this is not a horror film, nor is it a gorey spectacle. This focuses on the lives of Gen Z suburnites struggling to stay alive and make sense of the short time they’ve been given. Though we see the world through Mara’s perspective, what is most interesting are the reactions and behaviors of her fellow peers as they come to terms with the inevitability of their mortality. Knowing that at any second they can explode forces them to live life to its fullest in unexpected ways, dragging them into adulthood prematurely.
We begin to wonder if the time we ourselves have been given so far has made us idle in self-discovery and pursuing our own goals. Langford’s performance is impeccable and on par with her co-star Charlie Plummer (King Jack, Lean on Pete) who plays her love interest, Dylan, as the two complement one another’s quirky idiosyncrasies in a playfully witty banter. I’d also like to make a special note of Hayley Law’s (Riverdale, Altered Carbon) performance as Mara’s best friend, Tess, whose honest, raw talent is what stirs emotions in this dark comedy. Overall a A- from me. Be sure to check it out soon on Paramount+ as their new platform will be streaming their newly, theatrical released movies.
And as always, stay tuned for more recommendations and content!