I don’t think it’s too much of a spoiler to tell you that this film does indeed see its main protagonist get struck by lightning and, as you’d expect, he does indeed die.
Luckily, this is not the big finale, or the inevitable ‘twist’ at the end of some long drawn out sob, story, which ironically tells you the entire plot line in the title. (We all know a film in which that’s happened, and I’m sure we can all name at least ten films probably less than a decade old, which have abused just that tactic.) No, rather the title is actually a metaphor for that tiny moment in which creative inspiration strikes, like, for example the moment when Van Gogh looked up at the night sky and received the inspiration to paint The Starry Night. The fact that the same character is then himself hit by lightning is simply representative of the fragility of life regardless of length, and – yeah okay – it’s ironic.
The story follows high-school student Carson Phillips (Chris Colfer) who, at the age of seventeen, is desperate to escape his small-town life and begin on the pathway to the journalism career he has dreamed of since early childhood. With that goal in mind, he has undertaken the role of school newspaper editor.
Frustrated both by the lack of interest in the newspaper shown by the student body, and the lack of drive from the rest of the writer ‘club’, and further desperate to have something impressive to show the board of his chosen university. Carson, with the help of his sole friend and fellow writer club member Malerie Baggs (Rebel Wilson), blackmails several of the more popular, and therefore influential, students of the school into writing for the newly conceived literary magazine.
After an argument with the principle at a student council meeting, concerning the proposed banning of logo’s on clothes, the principle bans all off-campus privileges for students. Predictably, and as a result of this, the rest of the student-body boycotts buying the magazine, to serve as a punishment to Him.
Carson also receives the news that his chosen university had accepted him, but due to his lack of reply they have given his place to someone else, meaning that he has to wait a year before reapplying. Naturally, this all leads him to a state of depression, and it is only after some time of reflection that he realizes that, despite everything, for the first time in his life he is happy and that he only has one story left to write – his own.
This is pretty-much where the story began, with him working late before being struck by lightning, his funeral, etc.
Overall, this story-line is brilliant I really can’t fault it, so I won’t try; the only other thing I’ll say is I did miss some things out of his summary, so as not to ruin it for you, but believe me, those parts add a great deal of depth, also, this film is FUNNY.
Now, as for the quality of acting: I don’t think any of the cast really let themselves down, they all put on great performances, but I just HAVE to mention Chris Colfer. For those who don’t already know, Colfer plays the part of Kurt Hummel in Glee, now I do actually watch that program (no I’m not a fanatic, I just find it harmless entertainment – like Disney) and whilst I’ve always thought he has a fantastic singing voice, I’ve never really rated his acting that highly, but maybe he just blends into the background a bit in Glee, whereas here he shines! I actually found myself thinking: “He’s going to be a Hollywood A-lister.”
Perhaps it’s simply because he felt more a connection with Carson than Kurt, or perhaps it’s that he wanted to do justice to his own character (Colfer also wrote both the literary and screenplay versions of Struck By Lightning) either way, he was tremendous and made me connect almost instantly with Carson.
I felt a bit let down with the direction to be honest. There were a few moments in the film where I felt like, if the camera had just stayed with the character a bit longer, then it would have added… something indefinable. I just think there was room for more (for want of a better term) color in the visual aspects of the film, and it’s a shame that isn’t so. But the directing’s not ‘bad’, and nothing’s been taken from the film despite this, all I’m saying is: this film won’t make my ‘favorites’ list.
Great coming-of-age film though, very witty, almost poetic in it’s conclusion. Watch it.
STRUCK BY LIGHTNING Review
A high schooler recounts the way he blackmailed his fellow classmates into contributing to his literary magazine.