The cover image for Stargirl

‘Stargirl’ Shows Self Expression Among Teenagers

Self expression among teenagers is explored in the live adaptation of Jerry Spinelli’s novel of the same name.

Stargirl is a 2020 jukebox musical romance film released on Disney+ based on Jerry Spinelli’s novel of the same name. The live adaptation explores self-expression among teenagers and how this theme plays a central role in the movie. Viewers also see how the title character changes the protagonist’s personality over the course of the film.


This image is of Stargirl playing at the football game
Stargirl playing at the football game

Viewers can easily see that there is strong diversity in Stargirl. For one, Julia Hart, the female director, is praised for her nostalgic tone and direction of the film. Julia Hart directed and wrote the screenplay that explores first love; this film is solely directed by a woman, which brings strong diversity and representation of women behind the camera. Self-expression plays a strong role in diversity and representation because it ties with non-conformity, especially in the media. Julia Hart’s work has contributed to the positive feedback from critics; she also directed and wrote a sequel to this film titled Hollywood Stargirl.

In addition, Karan Brar, who plays Kevin, is of Asian descent, bringing strong Asian representation that ties with self-expression. Karan Brar previously appeared in Diary of a Wimpy Kid (2010) as Chirag Gupta and on Disney Channel. His character, Kevin, is a supporting character to Leo, the main protagonist of the film.

First Love

This image is of Leo and Stargirl
Leo and Stargirl in the desert

Leo’s interactions with Susan, known as Stargirl, change his personality throughout the movie, which supports the theme of self-expression among teenagers. Before he met Stargirl, Leo was shy around girls his age, but that changed when he and Stargirl share their first kiss in the desert. The first kiss symbolizes first love; the emotions that come with first love also appear at the school’s winter dance. Stargirl plays an important role in Leo’s character transformation.

As Leo and Stargirl start dating, his friendship with Kevin is tested. As Stargirl gains popularity by cheering for the school’s football team, the football team wins, and Leo becomes attracted to her. However, he forgets about his friendship with Kevin, as Kevin points out that Leo should not get too emotionally attached to Stargirl and put his romantic relationship before his friends. Leo’s newfound relationship leads to a fall-out between him and Kevin, as the two become physically distant.

When Stargirl supports an injured opposing player during a football game, upsetting everyone, Leo realizes that he forgot about Kevin and his other friends. This shows that relationships can distract one person from his other friendships.

In conclusion, Stargirl is a romantic movie that anyone can watch, as the film is based on the novel of the same name.


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