The Greatest Hits (2024) Movie Review – A fresh & innovative concept of time travelling

A fresh & innovative concept of time travelling

The Greatest Hits, a 2024 Hulu original, stars Lucy Boynton, David Corenswet, Justin H. Min, and Austin Crute. The film follows Harriet, who is still heartbroken two years after her boyfriend, Max, passed away. She’s stuck in the past, finding solace in their favourite songs that remind her of their time together.

Songs have this magical power that they can instantly transport us to a specific moment in our lives, making us feel all sorts of emotions. Whether we’re feeling sad, happy, pumped up, or even grieving, there’s a song for every mood. But for the protagonist, Harriet, it’s different. When she listens to these songs, she’s not just remembering; she’s actually going back to those moments with Max. In layman’s terms, she is reliving those memories right there, in that moment.

Harriet has the ability to time travel through her memories with Max when she listens to their favourite tunes, but at the same time she also gets triggered by songs in public, and it makes her pass out. To avoid these embarrassing moments, she sports noise-cancelling headphones everywhere she goes.

Morris Martin is Harriet’s ride-or-die bestie, and though he supports Harriet’s decisions, he really believes that Harriet should start moving on from Max. Things get even more complicated when Harriet meets a new guy at group therapy and starts catching feelings, leaving her stuck between holding on to her past and embracing this new chapter in her life. 

Lucy Boynton is a real talent, especially in “The Greatest Hits,” where she manages to make a confused character like Harriet seem attractive with her dialogue delivery. Harriot’s whole world revolves around the death of her boyfriend, who, by the way, is described as super handsome with an incredible voice. The supporting cast doesn’t really steal the spotlight in the film as expected; their screen time is kept to a minimum.

However, Justin H. Min portrays the role of David, coming across as a genuinely caring character. His natural, easy-going attitude makes you believe in his concern for Harriet. David is like John Cusack in “Say Anything,” balancing both sincerity and wholesomeness. Min avoids making his character seem self-centered or annoying, playing him in a way that’s both likable and believable.

The movie’s concept feels like déjà vu: time travel, a main character in mourning, and the struggle with guilt for moving forward. While the characters add a new spark with their personalities, the most innovative part is the way of time travel. Besides using music to travel through time and alter it, there’s nothing particularly new about the movie’s concept. Execution-wise, the movie flows smoothly, clocking in at a tidy 98 minutes.

It’s paced just right, covering Harriet’s journey from start to finish with skill. Her struggles and guilt are clear and sit well with the audience. David, with his feel-good attitude and tragic background renders the story all the more interesting. However, his grief could have been explored in a much better way. While we do connect with David, having a front-row seat to his character could have added more volume to the film.

At first glance, The Greatest Hits sounds like it could be a real crowd-pleaser, but it falls short of hitting the mark. The film seems to be stuck in a loop, circling around Harriet’s story without really going anywhere. While it’s not exactly a tearjerker, it’s also not fully satisfying in terms of exploring the alleys of grief. However, for those who enjoy the idea of musical time travel as a way to connect with emotions, the movie still has its positives.

For the perfect audience, it can come out as a sweet treat for those who see the story as a metaphor, offering a dreamy experience without the guarantee of a perfect ending. Harriet and Max’s love story is undeniably sweet and endearing. Their feelings for each other are front and center, but Max’s character remains a bit of a mystery. Harriet’s grief is a constant presence, but it feels like it’s resolved a bit too quickly at the end.

David is a charming character, but we could definitely use more background on him. It would be great to learn more about his past and his relationship with his sister. As for Morris, he’s Harriet’s best friend, but we don’t get to see much of his story either. It feels like there’s more to these characters that we’re missing out on. Director Ned Benson really leans into the power of music to evoke memories, especially via the character of Harriet, played by Lucy Boynton.

After the tragic death of her ex-fiancé Max, played by David Corenswet, certain songs transport her back to their time together. It’s a poignant way to show how music can connect us to our past. The film doesn’t hold back in exploring grief, especially for young people, and it aims to be an emotional journey.  However, despite Benson’s ambitious concept, the story feels a bit shallow, leaving audiences wondering if it’s all truly convincing. The romanticized story glosses over some important details, which may leave some viewers wanting more material.

The Greatest Hits tries to tackle the big idea of blending time travel with a lively plot, but it falls short in its execution. While the movie talks about the themes of grief and despair, it struggles to balance the dark subject matter with the unique concept of time travel. Unfortunately, writer-filmmaker Ned Benson misses the mark in immersing the audience in Harriet’s moral struggle, failing to create the perfect playground needed to connect reality, memory, and perception.

The film might not hit the right notes for die-hard music fans like “High Fidelity” did. It also tries to capture the indie charm of “Garden State” but ends up feeling a bit forced and lacking in genuine emotion. Director Benson tries to show Harriet’s struggles through various hints, but the film gets weighed down by the seriousness of her depression. 

A little comic relief could have gone a long way in lightening the mood and keeping viewers engaged. If you’re into cheesy romantic flicks, “The Greatest Hits” might be right up your alley.


Read More: The Greatest Hits Ending Explained

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  • - 6/10

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