Struck By Lighting is the self starring, big screen writing debut of Glee actor Chris Colfer. In a way, this film could be his ‘Good Will Hunting’, a coming of age story that also serves as the breakout hit of his career – or at least, perhaps that is what he had hoped it would be. Although Colfer is talented and the script and his performance provide many good moments, this film is not going to be nominated for nine Academy Awards and Colfer will not be taking home the writing Oscar.
Maybe I’m being harsh in comparing it to such a classic, but these thoughts couldn’t escape my mind. I will stop there however, and judge the film on its own merit because although I don’t think many people will see this movie, let alone be talking about it in fifteen years time, it still has much to offer.
High school senior Carson Phillips (Chris Colfer, “Glee”) was on a path to greatness, when he was suddenly killed by a bolt of lightning in his school parking lot. Carson recounts the last few weeks of his life via witty, insightful flashbacks, including a blackmail scheme targeting the popular kids concocted with his best friend (Rebel Wilson, BRIDESMAIDS) and a home life that includes a mother’s (Allison Janney, JUNO, “The West Wing”) more interested in the bottle than her son’s future and an estranged father (Dermot Mulroney, MY BEST FRIEND’S WEDDING) who suddenly appears with a pregnant fiancée (Christina Hendricks, “Mad Men”).
Struck By Lighting is a well thought out story, a very simple one which allows its major performances to shine with some genuine comedic moments and lots of heart. Colfer himself is a likeable lead, although not having watched Glee I had to adjust to his higher pitched voice which I did not expect. He wrote the role for himself and it’s very clear he is very comfortable in the shoes of that character. His mother, father and his father’s fiancé all offer great supporting roles and the tension between them is handled pretty well. I was not over impressed by the rest of the supporting cast, in some moments I’d even go as far as to say I thought they were bad. Rebel Wilson is the only other high school character who offers anything, but it’s a typical performance from her that although has nothing wrong with it, doesn’t seem to strive for anything great.
The film has a wonderful lightness of touch and so in that aspect Colfer struck gold. He nailed his small little concept, and it’s just sad that not many people have heard of this film or will ever see it. Although, he quite clearly wanted to communicate his frustrations with certain aspects of life, his screenplay also contained a strong narrative hook that dug into me and forced me to stay to the very end. This cannot be said about every movie these days and so I’d also like to praise Colfer for keeping me in my seat as I waited to see how everything would wrap up.
If you get the opportunity to watch this, I’d definitely say give it a go. It’ll probably never be your favourite film and you’ll probably only watch it once, but it will certainly give you some mild entertainment and make you consider a few things.