“Clouds” stars Fin Argus, Sabrina Carpenter, Madison Iseman, Neve Campbell, Tom Everett Scott, and Lil Rel Howery. Released on Disney+ on October 16, 2020, the film is about a teenager who sets out to inspire other people while being diagnosed with bone cancer.
The film is directed by Justin Baldoni, who also directed “Five Feet Apart” and is known for starring in the television series “Jane the Virgin”. It is based on the novel Fly a Little Higher by Laura Sobiech. You never know what life may throw at you. The best thing you could do is make the most of it. If heavy-hitting adult-rated dramas aren’t your thing, don’t you worry, Disney+ has you covered. This latest drama from the streaming service was originally going to be released in theaters under the Warner Bros. Pictures label until a certain something started raining on our cinematic parade. Chances are you already know what I’m talking about. Back in May, it was announced that Disney+ had acquired distribution rights for the film and have it appear on the service. The power of at-home streaming still reigns supreme in the year 2020. So far this year, Disney+ has delivered a couple of respectable dramas for families (and adults) to enjoy like “Stargirl” and “The One and Only Ivan”, and based on what I read about this film, it looks like there’s a possibility that this streak could continue. After what happened with Disney+’s “Premier Access” strategy, we definitely need some more free content on its streaming service to cheer us up. So how does it fare compared to the streaming service’s other original dramas? Let’s find out.
The film follows the true story of Zach Sobiech (Argus), a young high school musician who was diagnosed with osteosarcoma when he was 14 years old. His life gets turned upside down when he finds out that his cancer has spread, leaving him just a few months to live. With time running short, Zach sets out to make his dream come true by making an album with the help of his best friend and writing partner Sammy (Carpenter) and the support of his family and his girlfriend Amy (Iseman). This is another fact-based music drama that chronicles the birth of a worldwide hit song and the events that inspired the artist to craft it, similar to the likes of “I Can Only Imagine” and “I Still Believe”, both of which were helmed by the Erwin Brothers. The only difference between “Clouds” and the other two is that this film doesn’t rely so much on preaching to the choir. I think a lot of people who are either familiar with Zach’s music or knew him in person will find this film to be an emotional experience. They’ll laugh, they’ll cry, and they’ll be reminded of how much of a good and talented person he was. As for those outside of that group, chances are they might feel the same way. While it’s far from an award-worthy drama, I believe that this is one of the better films that Disney+ has to offer. Justin Baldoni is no stranger to films centering on diagnosed young teens since he helmed last year’s “Five Feet Apart”, a film that I did not review for you romance fans out there and I deeply apologize. Based on the reception of that film, I can see why he was chosen to bring this inspiring story to life. Baldoni’s approach towards its subject matter can feel a bit too melodramatic at times, but he was able to hit almost all of the right dramatic notes to prevent it from resembling a cheesy Lifetime movie. I should know because it made me cry like a five-year-old. Okay, I actually got teary-eyed during the film’s ending, but still. The fact that the amount of emotional depth was carried by Kara Holden’s screenplay and the cast made the film much more appealing than it needed to be. Fin Argus delivered a star-turning performance as Zach. The film depicts the character as a charming and amusing person who is struggling with the fact that he may not live long enough to see his future, which affects those closest to him. Argus has the right amount of charisma and heart to portray someone who’s worth rooting for. Sabrina Carpenter also turned in a remarkable performance as Zach’s friend Sammy in terms of both her acting talent and her singing talent. I also want to mention that Lil Rel Howery’s performance as Mr. Weaver, Zach’s school teacher, proves that he can pull off some dramatic chops just as well as him providing comedic moments in his other films. He was just that good in this film. As for its flaws, aside from a couple of overly melodramatic moments, I didn’t think the film needed to be a bit over two hours long. If it was under two hours, it would be fine.
Overall, when it comes to its inspiring and emotional story, “Clouds” plays its music beautifully. Was it a perfect movie? Not exactly. Was it good enough to make me blubber like a child? Absolutely. This is something that will surely impress those looking for a feel-good and heartwarming film thanks to some solid performances, its well-written script, and its emotional depth. It’s worth checking out on Disney+ unless you’re not in a mood to bawl your eyes out.
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