Now, I don’t want to get too deep into Clouds right away, but I’m known to typically say that Disney+ has a lot of more mediocre films that are good enough to watch in the moment, but nothing that sticks with you for the long run, but things are changing for the better, because when it comes to Clouds, you can be prescient that a brighter day is heading towards Disney’s streaming service. Let’s get crackin!
This review is brought to you by the word of the day: Prescient.
Having knowledge of things or events before they exist or happen, AKA having foresight.
Clouds focuses on the real-life story of Zach Sobiech, a terminally ill young man with a heart full of gold. The only thing he wants to be remembered for is to make others smile with his infectious music and sense of humor.
I should probably state right off the bat that I have a bit of a bias towards films like this. Those close to me would tell you that I have a penchant for admiring sick-lit type stories, and I suppose that’s true. When I was in middle school, I wanted to do a charity event where I would either walk, skate, or bike from Northern Indiana to Mount Rushmore, South Dakota. The charity event I was working towards was a benefit for Riley’s Children’s Hospital. They got word of it, wished me good luck; I met with a newspaper reporter and photographer prior to leaving, but on the day I left, the odds were against me and I had to turn back. Embarrassing, to say the least, but I always loved Riley’s and what they were doing for sick kids, and I mean…this movie is about a sick kid. So, yes…I am biased. But I also think, logically speaking, that this is a well-crafted original film that feels more cinematic than pretty much anything else on the platform, and that mostly has to do with cinematography and setting up most of these shots. The movie basically starts on a pretty decent one-shot, and even though the rest of the movie doesn’t pull a 1917, what it does do with the camerawork and editing constantly impressed me, anyway.
This film also knows exactly how to get under the viewers skin in the best possible way. There’s a range of emotions this film elicits from the tragic situation that Zach finds himself in, to the pure, unfiltered fun that he experiences with his family and friends, to the romantic side of things with his girlfriend, to the more subdued moments of relaxation that he winds up in. Watching this movie is like watching life unfold in rapid succession. Sure, for a lot of others, you might feel as if its overly sappy, but the story laid out in this movie mirrored Zach’s real-life story.
Normally, when it comes to movies like this, true stories in particular, I don’t always have the best time with them because what I look for in film is often a solid narrative where a main character is struggling with some sort of inequity and is working to resolve that problem, and when you have a terminally ill cancer patient, there’s not much hope there in terms of fixing that problem. Heck, right from the get go, he stopped the chemo treatments when he learned he was terminal. If this was a fictional religious movie or something, then you’d have characters praying, and doing whatever’s necessary to keep hope alive that he might come out of this…but this is a realistic cancer story and that’s not really the point. The point is, well, what do you do when you’ve already accepted that you’re going to die? What’s the point of life after that? Do you just sit around and wait for death to knock on your door or do you do something? Make life meaningful. How would you make an impact in the world? That’s what I think this film was trying to accomplish.
I think this film also contains some of the best acting in any given Disney+ original film. Finn Argus does an incredible job as Zach, Sabrina Carpenter plays his best friend, Sammy Brown, and likewise, I fully believed her performance, and heck, Neve Campbell is in there killing it as Zach’s mom. Tell you what, it’s nice to see her in a more relaxed role, not having to run from the Ghostface killer for once.
I don’t know, I may be biased about the overall theme of the film, but I absolutely believe that it also made a lot of great technical choices, especially when compared to the other movies on the same platform. I had a heck of a hard time finding anything negative to say about it. Any and all negatives that I found in this film were simply technicalities where it wasn’t as good as it could have been, but it was far from bad.
Let’s go ahead and break down my final score for a second. From a technical, unbiased perspective, I think Clouds worked really well particularly with the performances of our lead characters, with the incredible music, and really well planned-out cinematography and editing. That score is 90%, and when it comes to my personal biased score, I think this movie is incredibly heart-warming and inspirational. It did a fantastic job juggling a number of emotions from me, and I suspect, plenty of others, as well. That score is 94%, averaging everything out to the final rating of 92%, 92 out of 100 possible stars, or an A- letter grade.
I really dug this movie and I think it’ll be a long time before another Disney+ original comes close to this score. I could be wrong. Anything is possible and I’ll keep my fingers crossed, but I just don’t know. What about you, though? Have you seen Clouds? If so, what were your thoughts on it? Did it tug on your heartstrings? Until next time…