A girl is brought out of her shell by a new schoolmate in To the Stars, the latest from director Martha Stephens.
If that description makes the movie seem a bit old-fashioned, well, it looks a bit old-fashioned. It’s set in 1960s Oklahoma, and the trailer pitches it as a pretty straightforward tale of a girl from the big city shaking up the life of a shy, small-town teen. Curiously, the film has played at several queer film festivals, including Outfest, so I wouldn’t be afraid to read into the two girls’ “close friendship”.
The movie sees Stephens split off from previous directing partner Aaron Katz. The two had made the acclaimed road comedy Land Ho! together, and while Stephens had made some films by herself before, coming off a big success makes this a prime chance to really establish her name.
The project also gives a couple of young actresses a chance to build their credentials, with the shy girl being played by Kara Hayward (you may recognize her from Moonrise Kingdom) and the outgoing one played by Liana Liberato. The supporting cast has enough names to reel people in, as you probably noticed Tony Hale, Malin Akerman, and Shea Whigham in the trailer.
This is the kind of film that may benefit from our current situation, as strong reviews from its festival run probably wouldn’t have been enough to find an audience theatrically. With a VOD release and some recognizable names attached, more people might take a chance on it.
To the Stars is directed by Martha Stephens and stars Kara Hayward, Liana Liberato, and Malin Akerman. It will be released in the US on VOD on April 24th, 2020. Further release dates are not currently known.
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