Wholesome tween sequel has positive messages.
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A Lot or a Little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Hollywood Stargirl is the sequel to Stargirl, which was based on the YA novel of the same name. The title character (Grace VanderWaal) is a talented singer who's never had time to settle in anywhere and make lasting friendships because her hardworking costume designer mom has moved her around so much. The main messages center on believing in yourself, never giving up on your dreams, and always treating others with kindness and respect. Stargirl and her new Hollywood friends embody these themes. One of those friends becomes a boyfriend, and the two share several kisses. They also hang out in the back of a bar where adults drink and the boyfriend's older brother works. One character mentions a difficult childhood, and there's a suggestion of inappropriate behavior by a film director who's under investigation.
Beautiful Film with little conflict
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What's the Story?
Stargirl (Grace VanderWaal) and her costume designer mom, Ana (Judy Greer), are moving to Los Angeles in HOLLYWOOD STARGIRL. Ana has landed a job on a film, and Stargirl only wants to stay in the same place for her last year of high school. Soon after landing, Stargirl meets her neighbors -- teen Evan (Elijah Richardson), his big brother Terrell (Tyrel Jackson Williams), and former producer Mr. Mitchell (Judd Hirsch). Evan and Terrell are working on a movie of their own, and they quickly attach Stargirl to play the lead female role. Her singing chops provide the theme song after her celebrity crush, retired singer Roxanne Martel (Uma Thurman), turns her down on using her own cult '90s tune. Everything has fallen into place for Stargirl, until circumstances look like they might change for her ... again.
Is It Any Good?
This pleasant Disney film skates on the surface of its characters, setting, and themes, keeping it wholesome but also wholly unrealistic. Hollywood Stargirl's characters are purposefully naive, and in the case of Stargirl and love interest Evan (an adorable Richardson), this feels appropriate and even sweet because of their age. For other characters, like the "grumpy" former producer, jaded failed singer, and aspiring filmmaker big brother, a little more edge would have added depth and a small dose of realism. Likewise, Hollywood and Los Angeles are properly cleaned up and sunlit.
VanderWaal's Jean Seberg-inspired hair and wardrobe are fabulous, even if a bit over the top for your average teen. Then again, the entire point seems to be that Stargirl is anything but average: She has innate talent (VanderWaal does have a memorable voice, and more singing from her would have been nice), inordinately good luck, and the power to change people's lives with her charm and confidence. She also doesn't own a phone. "I'm Stargirl," she introduces herself to her older neighbor. "Of course you are," he replies sarcastically. It doesn't take long for her to wear down his hard outer edge with her kindness and innocence. The film may have the same effect on its viewers.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about the portrayal of teenage life and Los Angeles in Hollywood Stargirl. What seems realistic, and what less so? What are the effects of these choices?
What other films have you watched based on books? What can movies do differently or even better than books? What can books do better?
How would you describe the music in this film? How does Stargirl grow as a musician thanks to the initial rejection of Roxanne?
- On DVD or streaming: June 3, 2022
- Cast: Grace VanderWaal, Judy Greer, Uma Thurman
- Director: Julia Hart
- Studio: Disney+
- Genre: Family and Kids
- Topics: Book Characters, Friendship, Great Boy Role Models, Great Girl Role Models, High School, Music and Sing-Along
- Run time: 103 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG
- MPAA explanation: some mild language
- Last updated: February 17, 2023
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