Better Nate than Ever

So this came on Disney + a few weeks ago and it did not pique my interest at all. Then I had heard some positives about the film and I placed it on my list of streaming movies to watch. Now, having watched the film, I have to say, it was okay.

13-year old Nate (Rueby Wood) has a dream to make it to Broadway. Problem is, he can not even get cast in his school’s musical production about Abraham Lincoln. When an opportunity to audition for a Broadway show based on Lilo and Stitch came up, Nate’s best friend Libby (Aria Brooks) talked him into doing it.

Together, the pair run away from their homes in Pittsburgh to make their way to the lights of Broadway in New York City for a crack at the big time.

Is Better Nate than Ever realistic? Oh God no. There is no way that this happens in real life. The story is fairly predictable and things go really well for these two 13-year old kids in NYC.

I have to say, despite the overly sentimentality of the script, there is a charm to the movie, especially from the lead actor, Rueby Wood, and there is a cool appearance from Lisa Kudrow as Nate’s Aunt Heidi. Wood and Kudrow bring a special relationship to the screen that carries through the improbability of the script.

This is based on a book of the same name by author Tim Federle, who also wrote and directed the movie. There are several hints dropped throughout the movie that Nate is gay, but it never comes right out and says it.

This is a love letter to Broadway and musicals. The music in the film is great and the scene where Nate becomes TikTok famous on the streets of New York by singing On Broadway was a ton of fun. Rueby Wood was the standout of the movie, which worked specifically because of his talent. Yes there is a lot of sweetness and over-sentimentality, but I have seen worse.

3.2 stars

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