Finch (Justice Smith) wears black and red high top chucks in this film.
What do you do when you see someone in crisis? The most human thing you can do is reach out your hand. Try to talk them off the ledge. Let them know that they are important to this world. You may just save their life, and they might change yours. All the Bright Places is a 2020 romantic drama from Netflix that follows the budding romance of two teenagers dealing with their own unique emotional traumas. It stars Elle Fanning, Justice Smith, Alexandra Shipp, Kelli O’Hara, Lamar Johnson, Virginia Gardner, Keegan-Michael Key and Luke Wilson.
Welcome to the highest point in Indiana.
Theodore Finch (Smith) and Violet Markey (Fanning) are two teenagers from a small Indiana town. Violet is a popular girl who is struggling with survivor’s remorse after the death of her sister, while Finch is a boy who’s been labeled a freak by the other students. One day while on a morning run, Finch comes across Violet as she stands on the edge of the bridge where her sister died in a car accident. After jumping on the ledge with her, Finch is able to talk Violet down. Finch is dealing with his own issues that no one knows about. He is depressed and experiences near-constant thoughts of suicide, thinking that he is destined to end up like his abusive father. His family and friends do not understand his depression, saying that that’s “just the way he is”. He writes himself Post-It notes that remind him of the good things he experienced that day, and they help ground him in reality.
Finch camps out in front of her house to convince Violet to see the wonders of Indiana with him.
During Geography class, the two are assigned a project where they have to visit two of Indiana’s hidden wonders, and Finch volunteers to be Violet’s partner. Later at home, Finch thinks about Violet, looking her up on Facebook, reading about her sister’s accident (which he had forgotten). He convinces Violet that this will be fun and to just give him a chance. She reluctantly agrees, and they set off. They travel around the state to see the most low key and unusual sites, including homemade roller coasters, the highest point in Indiana, and more. Along the way it becomes clear that the importance in this project isn’t with the sites themselves, but what the wandering does for both of them—especially Violet. The two soon begin a romantic relationship and fall in love. Eventually, Finch becomes a kind of confidant and counselor for Violet that she needs, but he won’t open up to her. He helps her heal in ways no one could before, but will she be able to save him like he saved her?
Finch surrounded by his crumpled notes, wearing his red high top chucks.
This is an emotional, heartfelt film that does not tackle the subject matter of depression and mental health lightly. Some scenes are very raw and emotional, and can be triggering for those who have had similar bouts of depression. Justice Smith is incredibly effective depicting Finch’s bipolar disorder, showing his mood swings without ever coming off as over the top. He also is able to capture a quirkiness that doesn’t come off as annoying and shows how someone like Violet could become enamored with him. This film is by no means an easy watch, but it is emotionally resonant, and shows how even in the darkest times you can find love in all the bright places.
Finch reaches out to Violet on the bridge railing.
Finch trades out his old, worn out black chucks . . .
Finch wears a pair of black high top chucks throughout the first half of the film. They’re worn in and dirty and seem to be the only shoes he ever wears. This is why the best chucks scene comes at the midway point of the film, when Finch and Violet visit one of their wonders. They arrive at a tree that has hundreds of pairs of shoes thrown on its branches. They both take off their shoes and tie them together, throwing them as one on the tree branches. This acts as a symbolic tethering of their love to one of Indiana’s wonders, while also showing how much Finch cares about Violet since he’s throwing the only pair of shoes he’s worn in the film. In the next scene we see he has a brand new pair of red high top chucks, returning to what is familiar for him but is also new and ready for what the future holds for him and Violet.
. . . For a brand new red pair!
This shot of Finch’s red high tops never appeared in the film but is one of the publicity stills.
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