Many teen-romantic dramas follow the dramatic and at times funny beginnings of an epic romance. It must still have the traditional sweet encounter that blossoms into a romance plagued by a myriad of inner and outer factors. But in most cases, the central couple understands that and gets along. Hi, goodbye and everything elseit is Clare is all too aware of the unrest in a high school romance and is determined to keep her high school boyfriend in high school.
Clare (Talia Ryder) is a high school teenager who became seriously disillusioned with the concept of a high school romance after witnessing the mess in her parents’ relationship that began as high school boyfriends. After years of moving around and being drawn into her mother’s many romances, Clare has developed a love complex. She is determined to be practical and realistic with her own high school romance. After a sweet encounter with the charismatic Aidan (Jordan Fisher), Clare informs him of her intention not to take his high school romances with her in college. Despite the warning signs that she and Aidan love each other, they date through their final years until the impending expiration date of their relationship becomes a reality. The course of the story follows the two as they embark on their last date, which is filled with activities reminiscent of sentimental experiences through their time together.
Adapted from the novel of the same name by Jennifer E. Smith, Hi, goodbye and everything else talks about the conflicting emotions that accompany young love and the difficult journey of maturation. Clare and Aidan have understandable views, but as their last night unfolds with all the memories and revelations, Clare’s perspective becomes more and more valid. However, there is no side to choose as Amy Reed and Ben York Jones ’screenplay provides a sympathetic look at how everyone is reacting to this heartbreaking situation. The narrative could easily lose viewers with the melancholy of youth (which is a little frustrating at times). But the writing, combined with a decent playing time, feels effortless and less intimidating, though there’s not much this narrative can do to keep the audience engaged.
Fans of Jordan Fisher will be delighted to see him in a romantic lead role matching his natural charisma and winning persona on screen. Aidan needs the kind of actor who can effortlessly play a hopeless, confident, slightly arrogant romantic without moving into boring territory, and Fisher strikes it. Talia Ryder is a bit stiff as Clare practices. She has a sweet chemistry with Fisher, but there is no intense magnetic connection that can help reinforce why this relationship could or should last beyond high school. Both have a very sweet and smart dialogue that has become common in teenage movies, but neither of them can make it look natural or genuine. There are fleeting moments of romantic comedy magic, but they are rare.
Michael Lewen’s directorial debut is safe and delicate. However, the nature of this story is not captivating. With the courtship period for this former romance coming to an end, there is very little to explore. The emotional spikes do not seem deserved because the public does not have the full extent of this relationship to fall back on. The narrative is perhaps the one that is best engaged in literary form because the film adaptation cannot fully explore the sentimental moments that make up the couple’s last date. There is very little to enjoy in this ending, and when Ayo Edebiri and Nico Hiraga perform (as Stella and Scotty respectively), their energetic presence illuminates the terribly boring core of the overall story. Maybe if the chemistry between Fisher and Ryder was stronger, and the start of their dating was a little more structured, their end date would have a bigger impact, and viewers would be more invested in wanting them / not going.
Many fiction novels for young adults find their way to the big screen, but only a few are suitable for the new medium. Unfortunately, Hi, goodbye and everything else is not among them. It has charm, but unfortunately it is hollow and needs a solid base. Although the film is romantic and gripping in some places, it all falls apart as it leans against the central pair, who lack intense chemistry and substance.
Hi, goodbye and everything else airs on Netflix from Wednesday, July 6th. The film is 84 minutes long and is rated TV-14 for language.
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