All the Bright Places (film)

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All the Bright Places
All the Bright Places.jpeg
Official poster
Directed byBrett Haley
Screenplay by
Based onAll the Bright Places
by Jennifer Niven
Produced by
CinematographyRob C. Givens
Edited bySuzy Elmiger
Music byKeegan DeWitt
  • Echo Lake Entertainment
  • Mazur/Kaplan Company
  • Demarest Media
Distributed byNetflix
Release date
  • February 28, 2020 (2020-02-28)
Running time
108 minutes
CountryUnited States

All the Bright Places is a 2020 American teen romantic drama film, directed by Brett Haley, from a screenplay by Jennifer Niven and Liz Hannah, adapted from the novel of the same name by Niven. It stars Elle Fanning, Justice Smith, Alexandra Shipp, Kelli O'Hara, Lamar Johnson, Virginia Gardner, Felix Mallard, Sofia Hasmik, Keegan-Michael Key, and Luke Wilson.

It was released on February 28, 2020, by Netflix, to positive reviews from critics.


Theodore Finch and Violet Markey are two teenagers who live unhappily in a small Indiana town. Violet is quietly dealing with survivor's guilt after the death of her sister Eleanor and Finch is a loner, called a freak by other students. They meet on the bridge where Eleanor died in a car crash nine months earlier. Violet survived the crash, and has not been in a car since. She finds herself standing on the ledge of the bridge on what would have been Eleanor's nineteenth birthday. Finch, out for a run, sees Violet on the ledge and climbs up next to her, talking her down from a possible suicide.

Finch begins a partnership with Violet for a school project that requires the students to explore Indiana together. Later, at home, Finch looks up Violet on Facebook, researching her sister's car accident, reading through Violet's old writing, and chatting with her online. Finch and Violet travel around Indiana to see sites chosen by him for the project. Violet refuses to travel by car, so they bike to the highest point in Indiana. However, to visit a miniature roller coaster too far away to bike to, Violet agrees to get in his car. She returns to writing, for the first time since Eleanor's death. He helps her talk about her sister, which no one else had managed to do. Violet slowly begins to heal. They fall in love.

Violet notices Finch's occasionally strange behavior. He sometimes disappears for days. One day, while they are swimming at the Blue Hole, Finch disappears under the water. By the time he resurfaces, Violet is distraught and pushes him to tell her more about himself, threatening to leave if he doesn't comply. Finch reveals that he had been physically abused by his father, who sometimes got in the "dark moods."

On one occasion, Finch and Violet stay out all night by accident, upsetting Violet's parents. At school that day, Finch loses his temper on Violet's ex-boyfriend, Roamer, after being called "freak." The two boys fight, and Finch leaves in his car. Violet, who broke up the fight, ends up in the principal's office with Finch's closest friend, Charlie, who talks to her about Finch.

Finch attends a support group session, earlier recommended by the school guidance counselor, but nothing fruitful came about, partly because he cannot describe his problems. After school, Violet visits Finch's house and talks to his sister Kate, who leaves for work at a bar. Finch enters the bar and prompts Kate to speculate on why their father was abusive, and whether he could have been helped. Upset, Kate dismisses the topic, saying she doesn't care, and that their father is someone else's problem now. Disappointed, Finch leaves for their house, where Violet is waiting. As she questions him of the post-it notes he put up, he alludes to his episodes of "dark moods" where he fails to "stay awake" and loses control of himself. Eventually Finch is convinced he is beyond help and shouts at her to leave.

Finch disappears again. Concerned, Violet confides in her father, who suggests she check in places they had visited together. She drives to the Blue Hole, where she finds Finch's clothes and phone abandoned, and correctly infers that he has drowned. Some time later, she attends his funeral.

While healing from Finch's suicide, Violet finds the map they used for travel around Indiana, and notices the last location they were supposed to visit together marked in red. It's the Travelers' Prayers Chapel, a resting place for travelers and a place of healing for mourners. She finds his signature in the guest book.

With Finch gone, Violet must present their school project alone. She reads aloud her writing on the lessons Finch taught her. In the last scene, Violet swims by herself in the Blue Hole.



In July 2015, it was announced that Elle Fanning would star in All the Bright Places, with author Jennifer Niven writing the adapted screenplay.[1] In July 2015, it was announced that Miguel Arteta would be directing the film.[2] In July 2018, Justice Smith joined the cast of the film, with Brett Haley replacing Arteta as director, and Liz Hannah co-writing the script with Niven. Echo Lake Entertainment and FilmNation Entertainment produced the film, with Fanning, Paula Mazur, Mitchell Kaplan, Doug Mankoff, Andrew Spaulding, and Brittany Kahn serving as producers, while Hannah served as an executive producer.[3]

In October 2018, Alexandra Shipp, Keegan-Michael Key, Luke Wilson, Kelli O'Hara, Virginia Gardner, Felix Mallard, Lamar Johnson, and Sofia Hasmik joined the cast of the film, with Netflix distributing.[4] Principal photography began on October 4, 2018, in Elyria, Ohio.[5][6]


The film was released on February 28, 2020 through Netflix.[7]

Critical reception[edit]

As of October 2021, All The Bright Places holds a 64% approval rating on review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, based on 39 reviews, with an average of 6.2/10. The website's critics consensus reads: "Though it at times buckles under the emotional weight of its source material, All The Bright Place [sic] succeeds on the strength of Elle Fanning and Justice Smith's charming and tender performances."[8] On Metacritic, the film holds a rating of 61 out of 100, based on 9 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[9]

Kimber Myers of the Los Angeles Times gave the film a positive review writing: "Though it's not without humor, "All the Bright Places" takes teens' emotions seriously and will move romantics of any age - in possibly unexpected ways".[10] Courtney Howard of Variety gave the film a positive review writing: "Its pure beating heart and humanistic undertones make it somewhat of a standout".[11] Candice Frederick of The New York Times also gave the film a positive review writing: "Smith and Fanning bring thoughtful performances to this delicate tale."[12] Benjamin Lee of The Guardian gave the film 2 out of 5 stars writing: "There's messaging inserted near the start of the end credits for those who might be affected by the themes raised. But it doesn't negate what comes before it: a film that lingers briefly in the deep end but remains disappointingly shallow."[13]


  1. ^ Kroll, Justin (July 31, 2014). "Elle Fanning to Star in Adaptation of YA Novel 'All the Bright Places' (EXCLUSIVE)". Variety. Archived from the original on August 3, 2014. Retrieved October 5, 2018.
  2. ^ Fleming, Mike Jr. (July 27, 2015). "Miguel Arteta To Helm Elle Fanning-Starrer 'All The Bright Places'". Deadline Hollywood. Archived from the original on June 24, 2021. Retrieved July 30, 2021.
  3. ^ Hipes, Patrick (July 23, 2018). "'All The Bright Places' Movie Ramps Up With Justice Smith to Star With Elle Fanning, Brett Haley Directing". Deadline Hollywood. Archived from the original on December 5, 2020. Retrieved July 30, 2021.
  4. ^ Galuppo, Mia (October 4, 2018). "Alexandra Shipp, Keegan-Michael Key Join Elle Fanning in 'All the Bright Places' (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. Archived from the original on January 28, 2021. Retrieved July 30, 2021.
  5. ^ Fanning, Elle (October 4, 2018). "Violet + Finch. Day 1 #AllTheBrightPlaces @netflix #bretthaley". Instagram. Archived from the original on 2021-12-24. Retrieved July 30, 2021.
  6. ^ "The Mazur Kaplan Company and Echo Lake Entertainment Start Production and Round Cast on Brett Haley's "All the Bright Places" Starring Elle Fanning and Justice Smith for Netflix". Netflix Media Center. October 4, 2018. Archived from the original on January 14, 2020. Retrieved July 30, 2021.
  7. ^ See What's Next [@seewhatsnext] (December 12, 2019). "Elle Fanning, Justice Smith, Alexandra Shipp, Kelli O'Hara, Keegan-Michael Key, and Luke Wilson star in All The Bright Places, adapted from Jennifer Niven's best-selling novel" (Tweet). Retrieved July 30, 2021 – via Twitter.
  8. ^ "All the Bright Places". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango. Archived from the original on 2020-05-27. Retrieved October 10, 2021.
  9. ^ "All the Bright Places Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Archived from the original on June 16, 2021. Retrieved July 30, 2021.
  10. ^ Myers, Kimber (February 28, 2020). "Review: 'All the Bright Places,' with Elle Fanning and Justice Smith, finds romance in darkness". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on May 15, 2021. Retrieved July 30, 2021.
  11. ^ Howard, Courtney (February 28, 2020). "'All The Bright Places': Film Review". Variety. Archived from the original on February 28, 2020. Retrieved February 28, 2020.
  12. ^ Frederick, Candice (February 28, 2020). "'All the Bright Places' Review: Love Amid Trauma". The New York Times. The New York Times Company. Archived from the original on August 17, 2021. Retrieved July 30, 2021.
  13. ^ Lee, Benjamin (February 28, 2020). "All the Bright Places review – teen charm can't lift maudlin Netflix drama". The Guardian. Guardian Media Group. Archived from the original on August 21, 2021. Retrieved July 30, 2021.

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