Spontaneous, 2020 – ★★★★½

I have a feeling that many of us will be seeing Covid parallels in films for a long time, even when it’s unlikely they’re actually there. A film about the randomness of death, and feeling its inevitability around every corner even at a young age…well, that sounds timely. The lead trio of young actors anchoring this film are all superb, as they process an outrageous “what if” situation in their own ways. Katherine Langford and Charlie Plummer are both wonderful as the perhaps doomed Romeo and Juliet of a high school where the senior class has just started exploding. Best Friend Haley Law is also wonderful, even if she’s not given much runway beyond best friend. I can’t wait to see her in more things. The narration and references come fast and furious, never overwhelming the premise to silly, nor taking away from the serious drama inherent in the storyline. We’re all going to die, and it could happen at literally any moment. This is the thought we block out, the one we hide from. This is why we live our mundane lives as mundanely as we often do. Is this a get out and “live your life” tretise? Carpe diem with spontaneous combustion? Sorta. But it’s also a metaphor on how high school can feel like the end of the world, how relationships can feel like the end of the world, and, most importantly, how the end of the world can feel like the end of the world. We all know we’re going to die, so what if that knowledge was a bit more in-your-face. Like, say, 500K dead in the US with no end in sight. I mean, it’s hard not to draw parallels. So when we get to the surprising final narration, it feels cathartic in itself, the way life in general may feel in another half dozen months. Will we have survivor’s guilt? Or will we LIVE?

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