After surviving a plane crash that left her with major burns, Lamb (Julianne Hough) begins to question her faith and life. She then flees religious community and goes to Las Vegas in hopes to find herself and live the life she was warned about back home. It is there that she meets William (Russell Brand) and Loray (Octavia Spencer) who teach Lamb the way of life in Vegas, but she also teaches them life lessons of her own.
Diablo Cody, the director of Juno and Young Adult is back with a new film that clearly shows her touch. Paradise is a film with as much charm and heart as her previous films. It’s a film that speaks to youth about the bigger world around us and how there is so much out there for them to experience. The film features some humorous moments as we watch our protagonist experience all of these new events for the first time as well as her encounters with the people she comes across. The film’s meaning stays ever-present throughout until our lead comes to the realization herself. However, there are instances where the film tends to over-preach and draws the viewer out. But it doesn’t take away a lot from the story.
The film is also backed by some very well-done performances by it’s cast. Julianne Hough shines as the naive and innocent Lamb. Hough does an excellent job of bringing these qualities out through her facial expressions and her line delivery. And in the moments when Lamb hits her emotional patches we actually find ourselves caring. Russell Brand and Octavia Spencer provide a lot of the comic relief as Lamb’s newfound friends William and Loray. Here we actually see a different side of Brand along with his comedic side as his character becomes compassionate for Lamb during her times of doubt. Spencer becomes the moralistic friend for Lamb when she feels she is getting in too deep, but also has her moments of comedy and sarcasm.
Although the film can get very preachy, it has the right amount of comedy, heart, and charm too keep the viewer engaged, along with it’s talented cast and professional direction.
My Rating: 8/10