Movie Songs

A romantic song rather out of tune

April 17, 20242 Mins Read

Grief knocks at your door unexpectedly and enters your life uninvited. It stays with you in strange forms. In The Greatest Hits, Harriet (Lucy Boynton) holds onto grief in the form of vinyl records. She reels from the loss of her boyfriend Max (David Corenswet) in a tragic accident. Her only form of comfort is reliving the times she had with the love of her life through the music that they bonded on.

Cast: Lucy Boynton, David Corenswet, Justin H. Min

Director: Ned Benson

The sparkly eyeliners, vintage cars and the glitz and glam of Los Angeles take one back, like Harriet, to familiar tunes of About Time (2013) and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004). The film sometimes is even reminiscent of The Time Machine (2002), where a scientist is obsessed with bringing back his girlfriend from the clutches of death. Harriet here is eternally caught in a “what if” situation when David (Justin H. Min), a charming boy next door who has faced tragedy in his own way, pops in.

There are some decent touches in the film, like their support group head emphasising that loss is permanent but that grief is temporary. But such well-meaning messaging is lost in a screenplay that relies too much on how she is often whisked away into the past when she is vulnerable and hears a familiar tune.

The film plays out sequences of Max and Harriet’s relationship repeatedly with little to no explanation of how deep their relationship is and why he was the blood and bone of her life. The Greatest Hits is self-aware, sure, just like how Harriet admits that she is a “walking red flag”, and yet, it takes itself too seriously. The film uses an eclectic mix of music, from indie, pop, and jazz to even jingles in TV advertisements. Unfortunately, most of them are rather forgettable tracks. The relationship that Harriet and David share is complex, yet predictably sappy.

Despite the potential of an interesting premise, the film takes a detour into its 70’s Cadillac to create a rather underwhelming romantic drama devoid of colour and liveliness. For a theme that is as old as time, but with a story that is fairly fresh, The Greatest Hits needed more emotional and moving storytelling. Ultimately, the music of its story isn’t an ear worm. It’s a tired old song you have heard enough of. 

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