Star Wars has been an important parts of fans lives for decades. 5-25-77 is a coming of age story about falling in love and being one of the first people to see the seminal movie. Pat Johnson (John Francis Daley, Spider-Man: Homecoming) was inspired to become a filmmaker after seeing 2001: A Space Odyssey when he was nine years old. His mother is supportive, and even helps him meet a man who would go on to become one of the greatest directors of modern times.
The movie rarely strays from the familiar tropes of the genre (bullies, a girl who is interested in science-fiction, and a heavy suspension of disbelief), so the over two hour runtime will wear on audiences. The writing is serviceable, but there are too many moments that feel unnecessary. This is most noticeable in the uneven back half of 5-25-77. (The movie has been in the making for well over a decade, and it feels like it.)
The film manages to remain engaging thanks to its main character. Pat’s tendency to name drop is accurate even in today’s fandom, but he still manages to exude a goofy charm that makes him endearing. An important part of any coming of age story is naïve innocence and a deep rooted passion. Pat has both in spades and is easy to root for as he tries to overcome the obstacles life throws at him.
Writer-director Patrick Read Johnson, (Dragonheart) makes some missteps along the way, but has put together a film that is strong with nostalgia. Clearly a passion project, 5-25-77 is filled with the love that is required of any work that pertains to Star Wars. He also brings a good amount of heart to the story and, even though the characters can be a little too overbearing, they are genuine.
Ultimately, 5-25-77 does enough good to entertain anyone who watches its. The questions becomes will it be able to attract audiences aside from those who will already be drawn to it? The coming of age crowd will find enough to sink their teeth in, and any Star Wars fan should definitely watch this. It will be hit or miss for anything other than a niche group.
5-25-77 comes to VOD and Digital November 8
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