CERT: 15 | PLATFORM: APPLE, AMAZON, GOOGLE PLAY, SKY STORE, MICROSOFT | RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW
Unless you’re one of those people that hates movies where teenagers talk like world-weary slackers, there’s little to dislike about Spontaneous, the debut feature from The Babysitter scriptwriter Brian Duffield. In fact, other than that particular bug (which, you could argue, is far from unusual and probably more of a feature), everything about Spontaneous pops, just like the unfortunate high school seniors from Covington, New Jersey.
13 Reasons Why’s Katherine Langford is simply super as sparky Mara, who falls in love with Charlie Plummer’s Dylan even as the rest of their class fall victim to a mysterious condition which causes them to explode like blood-filled water-balloons. Mara’s long-term plan is to live in a Malibu beach house with best friend Tess, but the biological emergency causes her – and college-bound loner Dylan – to reassess their priorities.
Adapted from Aaron Starmer’s YA novel, Duffield’s script is whipsmart, and for a film about teen mortality it is very, very funny. The narrative is well-paced, letting the love story breathe and amping up the tension, as these teenagers stare death in the face and decide that it’s not going to define them, and is only amplified by the wonderful soundtrack, which mixes an original score by Joseph Trapanese with the likes of Sufjan Stevens and Tampa.
Despite its obvious shortcomings, 2020 has been a good year for small scene, heartfelt genre dramas, and Spontaneous stands tall among them. It’s the kind of film that you can judge your friends’ tastes by and, quite frankly, if they don’t like it then it might be time to get better friends.