Title card for Stella's Last Weekend.
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Stella’s Last Weekend may lead you to think the movie is about a dying dog, but it is really about two brothers relationship becoming stronger.


Director(s) Polly Draper
Written By Polly Draper
Date Released 10/23/18
Genre(s) Drama, Romance, Family, Comedy
Good If You Like Love Triangles

Close Brotherhood

Noted Cast
Jack Nat Wolff
Violet Paulina Singer
Ollie Alex Wolff
Sally Polly Draper
Ron Nick Sandow
Cassandra Julia Abueva

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Summary (Ending on 2nd Page)

It has been a year since Jack met Violet, a dancer about a year younger than him. They hit it off at a party but then she never returned any of his calls. However, on a break from school, the week before he and his family are to euthanize their 13-year-old dog, Stella, she pops back into his life. Only now, she is dating Jack’s younger brother, by three years, Ollie.

As you can imagine, the combination of losing his dog, one of the last things which trigger strong memories of his father, combined with seeing this girl messes Jack up. Add in college isn’t going so well and it makes even the most potent weed nearly useless. Hence why, to get closure, he asks Violet what did he do? Which, upon getting an answer, leads to them both wondering what could have been and what to do with these feelings considering they are a year too late and now Ollie is involved?

Question(s) Left Unanswered

  1. What did their dad die of exactly? With him ending up in a wheelchair, and it being what most people die of, I wanna lean towards cancer, but what kind?

Highlights

Paulina Singer as Violet

Violet (Paulina Singer) waiting for Ollie to come outside.
Violet (Paulina Singer)

Though one could argue playing a love interest isn’t something to be praised, between Draper’s writing and Singer’s performance, Violet doesn’t just become something for Jack and Ollie to fight over. Even as you see her indecision tear Jack and Ollie apart, you never want to damn her like Sally kind of does. After all, she is just 19 and seemingly falling in love for the first time and finds out she has feelings for someone else as well. And when you keep in mind how many firsts these two young men play in her life, one which has divorced parents and a dysfunctional family, you feel for her a bit.

Because, in being undecided about Jack and Ollie, she is essentially destroying one of the things she came to love about Ollie. The fact that, even if his dad is dead and mom still in mourning, with this dude Ron, they still have a more functional family than she has. Plus, taking note we don’t see or hear about her family coming to her performances, or her having friends, having feelings for Ollie and Jack means she could lose everything.

Which Singer portrays in such a way so that you sometimes feel worse for her than Jack or Ollie. For while we never dig deep into Violet’s home life, there is something about the way Singer looks at both of the Wolf brothers that makes you get a little teary eyed for her. Then, add in Sally making sure you don’t see her as the crux in the brother’s relationship, and it is like you are given full permission to see Violet as simply the victim of a circumstance. One who did what she thought she should, even though it made things worse.

The Wolff Brother Chemistry

Jack and Ollie (Alex and Natt Wolff) watching Violet perform.
Jack and Ollie (Alex and Natt Wolff)

With me never watching The Naked Brothers Band, for reasons I can’t recall, I’ve never seen the Wolff brothers in the same movie. I’ve seen them apart, with a very mixed reaction to Nat Wolff’s role and acting choices, but never together. Making Stella’s Last Weekend a bit of a fitting movie for it presents them both at their best and creates what feels almost like a milestone. One which helps you see how far they have come since their shared show introduced them to the world.

For, in a similar way to Singer, these two will get you emotional a bit. Particularly since Jack has felt this responsibility to keep their father alive, in some way, and Ollie has always felt he was in his brother’s shadow. Then, when you bring in Violet, you see how they both need her for different things. Jack needs one thing in his life going right and Ollie needs to feel like he can excel in a way Jack doesn’t. Thus creating one of the few love triangles you’ll see which makes the idea of shipping seem like nonsense for all you want is a happy ending for all those involved. Especially since it seems their lives are on the brink of being in shambles.

Thus really pushing the idea that it shouldn’t be, approximately, another 10 years before these brothers work with one another again. For they truly know how to push the best out of one another and get the other to deliver in ways they sometimes don’t consistently do when paired with other actors.

Ron Grows On You

For a good portion of the film, Ron is annoying as hell. Especially since Ollie just dogs on him the whole movie and Sally just lets him. Yet, as you understand he is just trying to find the family’s rhythm, see where he can integrate, maybe put his stink on a few things, you learn to appreciate him. He is just a good guy coming into a family which lost one of its most important members tragically once, and they are going through a whole new death again.

On The Fence

It Barely Felt About The Dog

In a lot of ways, this movie is barely about the dog Stella at all. Stella’s part in this movie is like someone having a dog in their dating profile. It’s part of the hook but doesn’t really tell you all that much about the person. They’re just there for the sake of starting a conversation and making you willing to open up a little bit.

Considering How Violet Was Written, What’s Up With Cassandra?

Cassandra (Julia Abueva) revealing she lied about sleeping with Jack.
Cassandra (Julia Abueva) on Right

As noted, it would be easy to see and blame Violet for what happens with Ollie and Jack. However, she is made to simply be a human who makes mistakes. So, with that in mind, why was Cassandra just a petty mean girl type? Why wasn’t there any effort, writing or performance wise, to make her someone who perhaps wanted Jack, was insecure because of Violet’s talent, or something which could have made her not seem like the antagonist from a tween production? I’m just saying.

Overall: Positive (Worth Seeing) | Purchase Or Rent On (Amazon)

Nat Wolff, for me, is like Bella Thorne. Yes, a good portion of the time I put their character or performance in something to be “On The Fence” about. However, it’s because you recognize something there that, unfortunately, you have to wait for them to learn on the job to really hone. With Stella’s Last Weekend, I wanna say Nat reached a new point and has now pushed the idea that maybe it wasn’t really him before, just not having good scene partners – like Singer. Who, in combination with Alex, Draper, and Sandow, make for a cast who really are able to play off one another and make quite the entertaining film.

Hence the positive label. Writer, director, actor, Polly Draper makes sure no one is left holding the short end of the stick in this movie. Everyone is given the opportunity to shine, be comical, challenged, and get a sense of depth. If not, better said, allowed to be a flawed human being without it being just for the sake of drama (with the exception of Cassandra). Thus creating a film I definitely think is worth seeing.

 


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