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A Chair, A Fireplace & a Tea Cozy
Inside A Chair, A Fireplace & a Tea Cozy

Film Review: Veronica Mars

About this time last year, I posted about the Veronica Mars Kickstarter.

And now? Now, I’m happy to say I’ve been to see the movie and love it! I’ve actually seen it twice: once in the theater, and once at home.

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I will keep the spoilers to a minimum. But there will be some.

The brief plot: Veronica Mars returns home to help out Logan, her high school boyfriend, who has been accused of murder.

I love character growth. I love watching a character mature.

Veronica “now” is a Veronica who didn’t just leave Neptune: she left who she was. That girl was a private investigator, who took cases, who dug into people’s nasty secrets. Oh, we see that Veronica is still smart and clever and won’t get pushed around. But, still, Veronica became just like many other smart college students: law school and New York City, and big firm life, at that.

That Veronica is not interviewing at anyplace even directly connected to her prior life is very telling about how far and fast she has run from her past. 

In Neptune she had a reputation, some of it warranted, and when given the chance to recreate her life, Veronica went for the type of life that on paper is “winning,” that is a “happy ever after. It’s the type of life that would sound very good on an alumni update. Even though she insists she doesn’t care about that type of thing. She’s done everything she can to not be “that” Veronica.

It’s not just Veronica’s growth; there is also Logan’s. There are mixed fan reactions to Logan, because of his “bad boy” actions. It can be tough to remember, when watching a television series where adults play teens, but Logan was, himself, a teen boy during during the years of his worst behavior. Not just any teen: one that was abused, neglected, and left alone. He had anger that was directed at others. He also had a personal code that valued loyalty to friends above anything else.

Where does Logan end up, years later? Let’s just say that just as Veronica was given the chance to get her act together, so, too, was Logan. And his choices make perfect sense for a teen who had no-one, but did have passion and a need to belong. A teen looking for direction; a teen looking to direct his energy; a teen who had a lot to prove, to show that he was more than his own past poor choices.

But Veronica Mars is not about the paths that Veronica and Logan have taken to leave their teen selves behind.

Rather, it’s about integrating your past and present selves.

On the surface, Veronica goes back home to help Logan. Veronica! Logan! LoVe!

But? That’s not why. It’s what she tells herself; it’s what the viewer believes, at first. (And remember — Veronica has always been a bit of an unreliable narrator.)

Veronica goes home because that’s what she wants.

Yes, nine years ago Veronica ran from her past, to her future, and now that she is in the present, back in her home town, she’s realizing that maybe she ran too far and too fast. That maybe the life she made for herself is a good life, and a life she can have, but is not the life she wants. And maybe it’s because I was a lawyer who left the law (though, obviously, not to be a private investigator), but I so “get” how Veronica may have fallen into law for the wrong reasons, and may be leaving them for the right ones.

I LOVE stories like this. Forget that this is Veronica Mars, based on a show I adore. I love “going home” stories, so the whole set up — the returning to a place that once was home, making choices about what one really wants — it’s like this plot was hand-crafted just for me.

Seriously, if you know of some good novels about people returning to their home towns after 10 or 20 years away? Leave the titles in the comments!

As for the ending . . . . who knows what will happen next. Given the various professional commitments of those who made the movie possible, I’m not sure if a return to a Veronica Mars series is even possible.

Those of you who follow me on Twitter know I love British television, especially how their series work. A season isn’t as long as that in the US, which frees up the actors and others to pursue other professional opportunities, and I think that model would work best for Veronica Mars going forward.

So, what did you think? Of the movie, and of Veronica Mars’s future?

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About Elizabeth Burns

Looking for a place to talk about young adult books? Pull up a chair, have a cup of tea, and let's chat. I am a New Jersey librarian. My opinions do not reflect those of my employer, SLJ, YALSA, or anyone else. On Twitter I'm @LizB; my email is lizzy.burns@gmail.com.

Comments

  1. Hope Floats and Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood are the first ones to pop into my mind; not sure why I have Sandy Bullock on the brain. Also, Grosse Point Blank, even though it’s such dark comedy. Can’t wait to see VM this weekend!

  2. Lilli says:

    Thanks for the review. My fav returning home novel is ANIMAL DREAMS by Barbara Kingsolver.

  3. Miss Print says:

    I also loved this movie and the arcs of the various characters. Well said Liz. In reading your review I realized the movie’s premise (going home and what comes next) reminded me very much of The Piper’s Son by Melina Marchetta.

    I also liked how this felt like it could be a set up for something more though I wonder if that will manifest in the form of future movies or another TV series. It will be interesting to follow!

    • Elizabeth Burns says:

      and I love THE PIPER’S SON so, so, so much.

      and now I’m thinking of the Logan/Tom links.

      and I just want to reread that book.

  4. Obviously I read “movies” instead of “novels”…although “Divine Secrets” is also a novel ;)

  5. Kate says:

    For someone with no real hometown to go back to, I’m a huge sucker for those sorts of stories. A favourite is The Solace Of Leaving Early by Haven Kimmel. Mary Lawson’s Crow Lake is another good one about Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay. And, metaphorically, it’s what I love about Gilmore Girls–Lorelai going back to her parents’ lives after a decade and a half of figuring herself out.

    Surely the VM team could pull off a Sherlock-style three-episode series every couple of years. Please?

    • Elizabeth Burns says:

      oh, maybe that’s part of the appeal to me? we moves a bunch growing up, I went to HS in a different town than I lived, so now you’ve given me deep thoughts to think.

      And thanks for the list!!

      And I agree: a Sherlock style VM would be my ideal.

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