Hanna Hall’s performance elevates an already compelling love story.
Review by: MiamiMovieCritic
Added: 7 years ago
The big surprise here was seeing Hanna Hall in a starring role. Apparently she’s enrolled in the film production program at Vancouver Film School. Writer-director Nathan Drillot scored a real coup in casting her. Most viewers will recognize her as young Jenny in Forrest Gump, but she was also the first virgin suicide in The Virgin Suicides. The last time I saw her was in a gloriously exhibitionist role in Rob Zombie’s Halloween. (Thanks Hanna.) Needless to say, she’s perfect here. Her performance elevates an already compelling love story.
Bright Lights (the title doesn’t say much) is about a lonely guy named Hunter (Michael Neale), who’s set up a little pirate radio station in his apartment. (The signal only has a range of 50 yards.) One day on the bus, he sees two homeless people who are obviously father and daughter. The dad is abusive. The next time he sees the girl, Samantha (Hall), he offers to help her, and she admits that she doesn’t have a place to stay. In his apartment, she basically throws herself at him, and, thanks to some amazing powers of self-control that I can’t imagine any guy would ever possess, he refuses her advances. This is the least believable scene in the movie, and it’s never explained. I mean, this is Hanna Hall we’re talking about!
There are no big revelations in Bright Lights; it’s the sadness of the characters – and how they briefly heal each other – that makes the story worthwhile. Neale actually holds his own with Hall, proving himself more than up to the challenge of acting opposite a proven thespian. Bright Lights feels like it could be expanded into an even richer feature-length film.