Underdelivering on the Title….: Our Review of ‘Stellar’

Posted in Movies by - April 21, 2023
Underdelivering on the Title….: Our Review of ‘Stellar’

There is nothing wrong with trying to break the mold of how to make a film and what a film should be. There is an entire genre of films that do this. Typically, they’re experimental films and they work to a varying degree. Writer and director Darlene Naponse tries this with her newest feature film, Stellar and it unfortunately is far from what the title promises; while beautiful to look at, the metaphorical story that audiences find themselves entangled in is a far stretch to capture the audience.

The film is set in Northern Ontario. And it focuses on two main characters that are amply named She and He. Playing them are, respectfully, Elle-Maija Tailfeathers and Braeden Clark. They meet unsuspectingly in a bar and as they slowly get to know each other mostly through glaring looks something starts happening. The weather changes and there’s a storm brewing outside and nature is certainly taking its toll on their surroundings. However, both He and She are oblivious to their surroundings. They engage with each other solely. Other characters run in and out of the bar who notice what is going on around them. But He and She never feel conflict.

As the film starts a title card comes up that reads “DIBAAJIMOWIN – a story 1.8 billion years ago a meteorite hit the Earth in what is now Northern Ontario, Canada. Its impact was felt globally. In its wake, one of the world’s largest supplies of nickel and copper ores were formed on its outer rim. AADIZOOKAAN – a sacred story From the sky it came, Mother Earth will split the ground beneath the lake. Serpents swam again in this world. She and He braided in the rift”.

These passages, for lack of better understanding, underline the film for the running time. It is a metaphor for the world and our connection with the earth and the nature around us trying to force the audience to connect further with the world we seem to continuously disconnect ourselves from. The message may be clear in that sense. But it has sub-messages scattered throughout which are not as clear and muddle the overarching story that Darlene Naponse is trying to tell her audience.

The soundtrack is sublime. However, Elle-Maija Tailfeathers and Braeden Clark try their best to connect with the audience with a lack of spoken dialogue is proven to be a rather difficult task. And sure, there are moments where the two interact in dialogue, and their body language does a lot of the work. But their connection falls a little short to resonate with the audience fully. The cinematography is picturesquely perfect and will make the audience breathless. Overall, Stellar has the makings to be a stellar movie, but ultimately falls short in its connection to the audience and slightly on the performance front as well.

  • Release Date: 4/21/2023
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My earliest movie memory, outside of my home theatre in my basement, was going to the local Video 99 and wanting to rent ET only to be told by the shop owner it was playing down the street in theatres. My love for cinema has been alive for as long as I can honestly remember. I would frequent the cinema minutes down from my house daily. It was a second home. Movies are an escape from the everyday world, a window into the soul, a distant friend. If I’m not watching a movie, I’m probably watching a tv show, if I’m doing neither I’m asleep. Feel free to interact me at @Dubsreviews
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