The Greatest Hits movie poster

The Greatest Hits

In theaters April 12, 2024

Rated

, ,

94 minutes

Directed by:

Starring: , ,

The Greatest Hits (2024) is that rare romantic dramedy that even I could watch and enjoy.

“Haunted by music” Harriet (Lucy Boyton) spends her nights combing through albums looking for that one song that will alter the destiny of her late boyfriend, Max (David Corenswet). The rest of the time, she lives her life through the muffled soundscape of her headphones, blocking music, voices, and relationships, for fear of being hurtled to the past, or to the ground, depending on your perspective. The musical soundtrack of her relationship with Max transports her back to the moment they first heard it together, causing her to literally relive those specific moments. Fine when she’s alone, terrible when she’s in public. To the present it appears she’s had a seizure for the duration of the song. Her belief in time travel to save one life complicates every relationship she’s had or attempted, especially with new friend, David (Justin H. Min), also dealing with a deep chasm of grief.

“Live your dash”, says her group grief therapist, Dr. Bartlett (Retta), referring to the dash on a tombstone between one’s birth and death years, and for a pop culture soundbite on the profundity of loss, it’s not bad. Harriet’s dash is barely a ghost of an imprint as she spends her time in the past trying to rewrite her present. She has to make a choice: spend the rest of her life falling into the past at the whim of a melody or make the changes to create a very uncertain future.

If you’ve followed me even for a minute, you know I’m not a romance-genre-person, and The Greatest Hits is clearly a quirky if morbid study of what ifs, the fork in the road, and the truths that are meant to be. There are no easy answers as Harriet and David try to navigate their tentative relationship, both walking red flags in search of a claim. Lucy Boynton is anxious and mournful, a contradiction of stagnant hope chasing an ideal. Justin H. Min’s David explores the edges of Harriet’s grief while ignoring his own. They’re each the distraction the other needs, if not for the right reasons. Austin Crute is Morris, Harriet’s best friend. He’s a local DJ, and understands her triggers and commits himself to being her safe space. Morris is a sympathetic friend, and enough of a nurturing push without being a caricature of DJ and LGBTQ+ culture.

Writer-director Ned Benson crafts a world of plausible impossibilities, and Harriet’s events are punctuated with a wide variety of music. Roxy Music, Beach House, Nelly Furtado, Peggy Jo and Helado Negro are a few of the artists on a double-LP soundtrack that is wistful and full of longing.

For a 94-minute film about putting one’s life on hold for the memory of another, it manages to condense a lot of pathos into dense but chewable chunks. The ethics of the film are clear – if Harriet can travel through time to correct the guilt she can’t get past, how does everyone else’s future fall into place? Can you miss what you never had? If it was meant to be, will it happen no matter what? The Greatest Hits wants you to take a peek and answer those questions for yourself, even if it’s a romance dramedy.

The Greatest Hits (2024) is exclusively on Hulu and is rated PG-13 for swears, oui’d, brief sexytimes, car crashes, deep discussions of grief, and seizures. Be advised, that some scenes have a strobing effect that may affect photosensitive viewers.

The Greatest Hits is streaming now on the following services:
Movie Reelist Contributor: MontiLee Stormer
MontiLee Stormer is a writer of horror, dark and urban fantasy. She’s also is a troublemaker, concocting acts of mayhem and despair for her own selfish pleasure. An avid movie watcher, she prefers horror but will see just about anything if you're buying. Poltergeist (1982) is her favorite movie and she actively hates The Shining (1980) due to its racism, misogyny, the butchering of the source material. She could host a TEDtalk on this single subject. Writing about herself in the third person is just a bonus.

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