While not hitting the high marks of the best live-action Disney movies, Cruella succeeds because it abandons the sketch we had of the deliciously reviled character and strikes out on its own.
Mainstream, though, is here to pass judgement, and it hands down a broad, overreaching ruling that isn’t specific enough to chill.
Moving forward, the deficiencies of this season should help answer its central question. How does one rewrite history through television, or perhaps more accurately, why? The first season’s screwy, boisterous energy provides a perfect answer: we rewrite as an act of compassion and hope.
Happiest Season knows the moment it’s in and how much it can push the boundaries, and it doesn’t dare come anywhere close to the edge. The win is simply getting an adequate one out there that everyone, not just queer people, will feel the need to see, and then not be put off seeing more. And in that sense, it plants its flag firmly so others can follow.
This is as much a meditation on the lasting effect of these people as it is a tale of their accomplishments and failures, so no, you shouldn’t really be looking at any of this as reality.
The Half of It clips along beautifully, giving you all the sweet charm of your favorite rom-coms while also giving you some thoughtful meditation on what love is (even if it is filtered through teens).
Some films aspire to lofty messages, trying to say something deep and profound about our place in the world in an attempt to make us feel less alone. Others accomplish this by having a goat chase Lily James. Whatever works.
That’s the thing: Stargirl isn’t outright bad. The way Hart sets up shots and makes the whole thing churn along does give it a nostalgic feel that’ll remind you of the movies that were produced for you in childhood. It goes down easy, particularly if you put it on in the background while you take care of your adult chores. But if you want something that will capture your full attention without making you slightly uncomfortable, look elsewhere.
If, like me, you don’t delight in the kerfuffles along the way, this whole thing can feel like a plod towards the inevitable.