As indie films about self-absorbed young white men making bad romantic choices accompanied by a mixtape soundtrack go, Maggie Kiley’s Brightest Star is a vast improvement over 2013’s lethally quirky Somebody Up There Likes Me.
Brightest Star‘s unnamed male protagonist (Chris Lowell) bounces around life after getting dumped by his pert blonde girlfriend, Charlotte (Rose McIver), trying to woo her back while figuring out what he wants to do with himself, flitting between lifestyles and jobs in the consequence-free manner that only the truly privileged can get away with, and of course disregarding the brunettes he’s clearly meant to be with.
Space and relativity and other science-y things also factor in the story, in a metaphoric, non-scientific way, with Alison Janney getting an extended cameo as an astronomer who lays out the themes. (Cougar Town fans may also bristle at the characterization of that show being about older women chasing younger men, which it hasn’t been since the first season.)
Set in a world in which the professional baseball franchise you support is a measure of character, Brightest Star feels like a poem from Kiley’s notebook without actually being poetic, and it’s either much smarter and more profound than it’s letting on, or it doesn’t add up to anything at all. Or maybe both — it’s all relative.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on January 29, 2014