Stargirl Movie Speaks Highly of Homeschooling
Disney+ recently released the movie Stargirl based on the New York Times best-seller by Jerry Spinelli. In this film, a homeschooled teen played by Grace VanderWaal decides to attend school for the first time for one year in high school. Here are a few things you should know if you are deciding whether to watch this movie with your family.
Please note: Spoilers ahead!
1. The movie speaks highly of homeschooling.
The movie tells us that Stargirl, which is the name of the mysterious and quirky new girl at school, has been homeschooled all her life. The mentor to Leo, the male protagonist, tells Leo that Stargirl “has been homeschooled by her mom till now” and follows this up with a compliment that he has “never met someone more invested in learning everything about everything.”
Even though the story is about this homeschooled girl going to public school for the first time, Stargirl shows off the quality of her homeschool education by excelling past her peers academically and emotionally. In the end, she finds public school lacking and returns to homeschooling with her mother.
2. Parents and authority figures are portrayed well.
In some movies for younger audiences, authority figures are out of touch with the young heroes or are even ridiculed, but in Stargirl, parents and authority figures are portrayed in a very positive light.
Stargirl’s mother, Anna, who has homeschooled her all those years, is shown to be kind and attentive. When Stargirl brings Leo home to hang out for the first time, Stargirl makes sure to bring Leo through the garage where Anna works from home. Anna is excited to meet her daughter’s new friend and tells them she’s available if they need anything.
Additionally, we learn early on that Leo’s father passed away when Leo was very young. As a result, Leo and his mom start off with a distant relationship, but by the end, Leo opens up to his mom and we see that relationship become a source of deep encouragement for him.
3. There is some talk of magic.
Stargirl is not magical in a science-fiction sense, but there is a kind-of mysticism that comes up throughout the movie. Some of the kids at school call Stargirl their “good luck charm” since the school suddenly starts winning for the first time ever once she shows up. In the end, however, Stargirl explains to Leo, “People aren’t happy because they win. They win because they’re happy.”
At another point, Stargirl mentions what it might feel like to be the rain, and it begins to rain. This makes Leo, somewhat incredulously, question if Stargirl has powers to cause it to rain. Stargirl never claims to have powers, and the movie works to show that “magic” doesn’t always have to be supernatural. Sometimes what feels like magic is just someone’s attentiveness to others’ needs or a startling confidence in one’s self.
4. There is a romantic relationship.
The way we learn so much about Stargirl is through her relationship with Leo. Stargirl kisses Leo after they’ve spent some time together, which begins their romantic relationship. Throughout the movie, we see them holding hands and going on adventures together and they exchange a few more kisses.
While their romantic relationship is part of the story, it is not the main story arch. Instead, the main narrative follows their unique journeys of learning who they truly are and finding the courage to live that out. For Leo, that means learning to stand out from the crowd and be seen. For Stargirl, it means leaving the public school and going on the road with her mother.