Fresh off the news that Marvel Studios just delayed its entire Phase 4 slate (again), it's fair to say we're now in desperate need of cheering up, something that's easier said than done all things considered. While new movie releases are currently few and far between, there are still some gems out there if you go looking, and Spontaneous is the uplifting tale we all need this October courtesy of beautiful love story, big laughs...and a lot of bloody explosions!
Based on the novel by Aaron Starmer, Brian Duffield's (The Divergent Series: Insurgent) film adaptation arrives on PVOD platforms from Paramount Home Entertainment on October 6th, and focuses on high school seniors Mara (Katherine Langford) and Dylan (Charlie Plummer) as they find love and struggle to come to terms with the fact that their classmates quite literally start exploding into bloody messes for no discernable reason.
It's a weird, and quite frankly, wonderful concept, and one that works particularly well as these kids start realising they don't necessarily have their futures ahead of them and the importance of living for today. Duffield manages to effortlessly combine a powerful love story with strong comedy and something of a sci-fi/horror vibe for a movie that is without a doubt one of 2020's best.
If nothing else during this pandemic, we can be grateful that movies like Spontaneous aren't falling by the wayside as they may have done surrounded by some of this year's biggest blockbusters, and this terrific cast definitely deserves to be seen. Katherine Langford is an absolute delight to watch on screen, and while most of you will know her from the Avengers: Endgame cameo that ended up on the cutting room floor, there may not be a more likeable young female lead working in Hollywood today. She's hilarious, never anything other than great to spend time with, and a real talent. Charlie Plummer is also very good, as is Hayley Law (who we would have loved to have seen even more of here).
It's Langford who steals the show, though, and those around her no doubt felt like they were playing catch up given the on-screen presence she commands.
Duffield's movie also feels like it speaks for the current generation of high school kids living in an America with an uncertain future ahead of them, and there are some pointed remarks made which feel oddly timely and, if nothing else, will definitely make you smile. There are a lot of messages here, though, and what you take from Spontaneous is likely to differ from viewer to viewer. However, with everything that's happening in the world today, we can all agree that living life to the fullest is a must.
Elsewhere, the soundtrack is terrific (a live version of Sufjan Stevens' "Fourth of July," for example), while Joseph Trapanese's score nicely compliments this authentic high school story and the people who inhabit it. That's arguably what Spontaneous does best; it never leans quite as much into its sci-fi elements as some viewers will like, but when the characters are so relatable and this high school is so much more than a long list of clichés, the fact it doesn't ultimately become some sort of action-packed sci-fi epic in its final act is welcomed rather than a missed opportunity. It's that love story which will really tug at your heartstrings, though, and this is definitely a perfect date night movie...well, providing you're not too squeamish.
A beautiful, bloody love story, Spontaneous proves that Katherine Langford is one of the most talented actresses working today, while director Brian Duffield delivers the sort of charming, uplifting tale we all need right now.