Spontaneous (2020) | Film Review
Spontaneous (2020) is a dark-comedy romance film written and directed by Brian Duffield. The film stars Katherine Langford, Charlie Plummer and Hayley Law, It was released on October 2, 2020 in the United States and distributed by Paramount Pictures.
The film starts out from the perspective of Mara (Katherine Langford). We see that Mara is a senior in high school and appears to be bored out of her mind while in class. She rolls a pencil back and forth across her desk and when it falls, she bends over to pick it up. As she reaches for her fallen pencil, her classmate sitting in the desk in front of her spontaneously combusts. Although the majority of the classmate's blood and guts miss Mara and hit the classmates surrounding her, Mara is still understandably traumatized.
Mara and her classmates are directed to the local police station and given identical sweat suits to wear. After speaking with detectives, the classmates are directed to a large room where they sit and wait. Several of the classmates wonder aloud what happened and Mara soon realizes that the class was directed to the room because the police are waiting to see if the spontaneous combustion is going to happen again.
The class is soon let out of the police station and return to their homes. When Mara gets home, she gets a mysterious text from someone that states they have a crush on her. She soon discovers the text was from a guy named Dylan (Christopher Plummer), who has had a crush on her for some time. He tells Mara after their classmate exploded, he realized that we never really know when our time is up, so we have to make the most of the time we are given.
The rest of the film follows Mara and Dylan as their relationship develops (and as people continue to explode like Chef Boyardee Mini Ravioli in a microwave on high).
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*Discussion contains spoilers and an explanation of the film
I think the best part of this film is the love story. Katherine Langford and Christopher Plummer have great chemistry and they do an amazing job at making you root for their relationship, while at the same time dreading anything bad happening to them (I'll refer you back to the Chef Boyardee reference I left above).
Hey, no one wants their favorite main protagonists turned into a chunky Bolognese hot mess express explosion, but this is the kind of movie where that happens, so I thought I'd warn you in case you're not used to movies like this.
Anyway. So the rest of the movie follows Mara and Dylan as they progress in their relationship and more and more classmates spontaneously explode. The students are soon sent to an isolated lab/holding facility away from the town they live in and are studied and experimented on until the researchers find a tentative cure in the form of a pill. The students are let back into school and for a while, things seem to be okay. The researchers still can't explain why the phenomenon is happening, but the pill works for the time being. Well, that is until students start Chef Boyardee-ing again at a more rapid rate than ever before and all hell breaks loose.
And yes, Dylan explodes. I was really upset, even though I knew either Mara or Dylan was going to detonate eventually, I was hoping it wouldn't happen. Mara is extremely traumatized and turns to drinking to cope. She shuts herself off and refuses to go to school, blatantly stealing liquor and just being a funny, yet unpleasant person in general. It isn't until Mara goes to Dylan's grave and meets Dylan's mother that she realizes drinking isn't the answer and that the choices she is making is ruining her life. She decides to go back to school and move on with her life.
The rest of the film is just terrible. Mara goes on some weird rant about politics (she made comments during the film too, but they weren't so blatant), which I think really dates the film and had nothing to do with the film in general. It really seemed like it was put in there because the author has a problem with certain people in politics and they wanted their voice to be heard. I don't really care to see that part again because it takes away from the movie, so I'd watch it again and stop right before Dylan explodes and tell myself they drove off together to college in Dylan's weird ice cream truck and lived happily ever after.
One other thing I didn't like about the film was Dylan's mom's explanation of why bad things happen. I would never go to her for a pep talk, let me tell you. It was basically like, "There's no reason for anything. Life sucks, then you die." Like, okay lady, who stole your Prozac and let you loose?
Other than those two things, I really loved the movie. It was funny, interesting, a little gory, and romantic. I wish there had been more of an explanation about why they were exploding, but I'm okay with no explanation because the main storyline was so good.
What did you think of this film? Have you seen it? Will you see it? Please share your thoughts in the comment section below!