All the Bright Places review – teen charm can’t lift maudlin Netflix drama

Elle Fanning and Justice Smith make for a likable pair in a Ya romance that tries, uneasily, to cover issues of suicide, mental illness and griefOne of the many life lessons preached by the well-intentioned, if ultimately ill-advised, young adult (Ya) adaptation All the Bright Places is that even in the darkness, light is waiting.

The lead teens, played of course by twentysomethings, have experienced some form of trauma in their past, and together they try to find meaning and hope in all the messiness.

It’s something director Brett Haley tries as well, with the film that surrounds them layering issues of grief, suicide and mental illness while also trying to invest us in a cutesy romance.

It’s a delicate balance, especially for a film aimed at a young, sensitive audience, and it’s not one Haley ever manages to perfect, struggling to let Jennifer Niven’s

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