Better Nate Than Ever is an amazing movie. I really, really, really love it. It may seem childish at first, but it’s really a film for everyone. Rueby Wood CLEARLY has a long career ahead of him, and I intend on watching a whole lot of it. I mean, if his star power can get Lisa Kudrow (who will always be my Phoebe) to sign on, wow. Tim Federle has created one for the ages.

2022 has had its fair share of disappointments so far, sure, but the last month (The Batman, The Adam Project, Bridgerton) has more than made up for the rest. The original songs in this film seem straight from the pages of the book that Better Nate Than Ever was based on. The cinematography and color grading is absolutely gorgeous. So I can get on with my everlasting praise, here’s my review of Better Nate Than Ever.

Nate (Rueby Wood) in Disney's BETTER NATE THAN EVER.
Nate (Rueby Wood) in Disney’s BETTER NATE THAN EVER.

Acting

Rueby Wood? Oustanding. Aria Brooks? Splendid. Joshua Bassett? Wow. Lisa Kudrow? Ahhhhh….amazing. The cast in the film does not fail, and as seen above in the image, there is no lacking of star power. Wood has this charisma to him, that just makes me want to drop everything and watch whatever he’s acting in at the moment. Disney has discovered a brand-new star that I believe will be in their films for a long time to come. Better Nate Than Ever 2, anyone?

Apart from Wood’s newfound stardom, Aria Brooks is another breakthrough actress that has made her name known with this film. Disney+ is a streaming service, but it’s the second biggest. Brooks will have offers to the moon when this film’s publicity campaign is done. Joshua Bassett? Say no more, he returns to Disney+ from High School Musical: The Series, and is just as good, if not better. And of course, Lisa Kudrow. What is there to say except, I love her, and she’s still Phoebe to me?

Story

This film focuses on happiness. Not the feeling itself, but the journey and path to the state of being. It explores what truly makes you happy, whether that be the arts, STEM, or business. The film shows a child trying, desperately trying to get on Broadway and be the next breakout star. In real life, Rueby Wood will soon be a star. In the film, he has to journey to the Big Apple just to have a chance, and enters the grueling process of casting.

Nate (Rueby Wood) in Disney's BETTER NATE THAN EVER.
Nate (Rueby Wood) in Disney’s BETTER NATE THAN EVER.

Better Nate Than Ever is an example of just how powerful happiness can be. The film is trying to send a message to do whatever it takes to achieve happiness, and the message comes across beautifully. Nate’s been trying to act in theater for so long, from school plays, to Broadway. He keeps on getting rejected and rejected, but keeps on trying, never giving up. That kind of determination pays off, and always will.

Directing

Tim Federle is an author, but he’s helmed Better Nate Than Ever, High School Musical: The Series, and Ferdinand, the former two for Disney. He’s hit the mark on all of those projects, and wrote the novel for the first. Federle has done no wrong, and can’t seem to do any. His latest might be the best yet, however. It has all the love of the previous projects, plus some more.

He’s had a long and successful career, but he’s written sequels to Better Nate Than Ever, so it doesn’t look like Tim Federle’s done yet, thankfully. The love that he brings to this film, the joy. It’s all in the name of promoting happiness, along with some tears along the way, of course. No spoilers, but, it’s a tearjerking film, in a good way. Read his book after seeing the movie, as well.

R): Nate (Rueby Wood) and Libby (Aria Brooks) in Disney's BETTER NATE THAN EVER.
(L-R): Nate (Rueby Wood) and Libby (Aria Brooks) in Disney’s BETTER NATE THAN EVER.

Original Songs

The original songs in this film aren’t the best I’ve ever heard, and not necessarily memorable either, but they provide an uplifting beat to the film, and give insight into how Nate thinks and acts. The ending song is particularly heartwarming, as the film comes to a close, and all characters find their resolutions. However, they fall short because of the way the songs are placed throughout the film.

Production Design

Jane Musky is incredible. The production design is so incredibly realistic and gorgeous. The sets resemble New York City in a way I haven’t seen before, and they truly show the goods and the bads of each. We get an extensive color palette, and wonderful colors to set the tone for the film, vibrant. The vibrant red and blue are a perfect contrast to the film’s emotions as well. Red for passionate, blue for discouraged.

Conclusion

Better Nate Than Ever is a vibrant, classy film, that shows us the theater of happiness, and the path to it that we truly deserve. It’s great family fun, and something to be enjoyed for a while. When you’re done with the movie, do me a favor. Call your parents and tell them you love them. It’ll go a long way for happiness. The film releases on Disney+ this Friday, don’t miss it.

Overall Grade: A

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