An imaginative, emotionally resonant coming-of-age story about two young kindred spirits who seek solace in one another, writer-director Tom Shu-Yu Lin’s Starry Starry Night, an adaptation of Taiwanese author Jimmy Liao’s bestselling illustrated book, is swollen with genuine feeling. Showcasing the commingled frailty and toughness of adolescents, and the rich inner landscapes that exist apart from whatever tethering relationships they have with adults, Lin’s sophomore effort represents a solid blend of technical achievement and kindhearted portraiture.
The narrative beats are sometimes familiar, and its metaphorical underpinnings rather highlighted, but the movie’s superlative inducement of whimsy ensures that its grip on one’s attention and heart never significantly loosens. While not nearly as overtly comedic as something like Stephen Chow’s CJ7, Starry Starry Night taps into the same sense of fantastical wonderment as that film, as well as the more melancholic tones of movies like Hirokazu Kore-eda’s compassionate I Wish and Spike Jonze’s Where the Wild Things Are. For the full, original review, from Screen International, click here. (China Lion, unrated, 98 minutes)