Movie Reviews
The Greatest Hits (2024).

The Greatest Hits Review: Lucy Boynton Leads Excellent Cast

The Greatest Hits is a film that bravely mixes genres, serving its audience a romantic fantasy cocktail with a twist of time-travel. Directed, produced, and penned by Ned Benson, the movie tries to navigate the tumultuous waters of love, loss, and the what-ifs that haunt our memories. With a cast led by Lucy Boynton, Justin H. Min, David Corenswet, and Austin Crute, the film delivers a mixture of heartfelt performances and moments of genuine intrigue. However, while it hits many right notes, it also misses enough to make its overall execution feel somewhat off-key.

At the heart of The Greatest Hits is Harriet (played by Boynton), a young woman entangled in the strings of her past and the present. After discovering that she can travel back in time through songs linked with her memories, she embarks on a journey not just through her romantic history but through the painful process of dealing with loss and grief. Boynton brings a necessary vulnerability and depth to Harriet, capturing the audience’s sympathy with her nuanced portrayal of a woman torn between moving on and holding on.

The premise of the film is its strongest suit. The idea that music can literally transport someone through time is both innovative and deeply poetic. Especially considering how songs often serve as emotional bookmarks in our lives. However, the execution of this fascinating concept stumbles into the realm of the predictable at times. As Harriet revisits her past with her late boyfriend David (Justin H. Min), attempting to avert his tragic fate, the narrative occasionally falls prey to the cliches that often plague time-travel love stories.

That said, Justin H. Min delivers a compelling performance as David, harmonizing well with Boynton’s Harriet and providing some of the film’s most tender moments. Their chemistry is palpable, effectively drawing viewers into their doomed romance and making the stakes of Harriet’s temporal journey feel genuinely significant.

In contrast, the present-day storyline involving Harriet and her new love interest Max (David Corenswet) is less compelling. Corenswet does an adequate job, but the character of Max is underdeveloped. This makes it difficult for the audience to invest in this burgeoning romance as deeply as Harriet’s past with David. This imbalance between the past and present storylines is one of the film’s notable weaknesses, detracting from its overall impact.

Supporting performances by Austin Crute as Morris Martin, Harriet’s best friend, and Retta as Dr. Evelyn Bartlett, a scientist who aids Harriet in understanding her time-traveling ability, add layers of humor and intrigue to the narrative. Crute, in particular, brings a much-needed lightness and charm to the proceedings. Meanwhile Retta’s performance lends the film a dose of gravitas and scientific credibility that it desperately needs.

The film fluctuates between moments of beauty and ordinariness. Director Ned Benson and his team craft some genuinely beautiful scenes that make excellent use of lighting and composition. Most notably during the time-travel sequences. However, these instances of visual flair are inconsistent. Many parts of the film lack the same level of artistic inspiration.

One of the movie’s central themes is the exploration of whether it is possible—or even desirable—to change the past. The Greatest Hits deserves credit for not offering easy answers to these questions. It presents a nuanced take on the nature of grief and the process of moving forward. Yet, the film sometimes feels too heavy-handed in its approach. Certain scenes and dialogues feeling more like moral lectures than organic parts of the narrative.

The soundtrack, unsurprisingly, plays a pivotal role in the film. Each song is carefully chosen. They don’t just serve as a plot device for Harriet’s time travels but also evoking the deep emotional currents that run through the story. The music becomes a character in its own right. They drive the story and are some of the film’s most powerful moments.

Overall:

The Greatest Hits is a film with lofty ambitions and a compelling premise that only partially realizes its potential. The performances by Lucy Boynton and Justin H. Min are standout aspects, bringing depth and emotional resonance to their roles. However, the film struggles with pacing and an imbalance between its dual storylines. This leaves its exploration of love, loss, and the possibility of redoing the past feeling somewhat incomplete. It’s a journey that offers moments of genuine beauty and emotion.

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The Greatest Hits Review: Lucy Boynton Leads Excellent Cast
  • Acting - 7.5/10
    7.5/10
  • Cinematography/Visual Effects - 7/10
    7/10
  • Plot/Screenplay - 6.5/10
    6.5/10
  • Setting/Theme - 7/10
    7/10
  • Watchability - 7/10
    7/10
  • Rewatchability - 5/10
    5/10
Overall
6.7/10
6.7/10
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