The Ultimate Playlist of Noise review – a charming teen drama One last road trip of sounds.

January 14, 2021
Daniel Hart 0
Film Reviews, Hulu
3

Summary

Despite no surprises in the writing, The Ultimate Playlist of Noise will etch a smile on your face by encapsulating hope, romance and finding true purpose.

3

Summary

Despite no surprises in the writing, The Ultimate Playlist of Noise will etch a smile on your face by encapsulating hope, romance and finding true purpose.

This review of Hulu film The Ultimate Playlist of Noise contains no spoiler. The drama will be released on the streaming service on January 15, 2021.

Maybe it’s because we’ve isolated for 12 months, but films that attach themselves to meaning and purpose hit different at the moment. Nostalgia is present by default. Hulu’s The Ultimate Playlist of Noise follows a young teen named Marcus, an audio-obsessed high school senior, and after he learns he needs life-changing surgery that will make him deaf, he decides to make a playlist of the ultimate noises, embarking on a road trip all the way to New York, whittling down a checklist.

The Hulu film bears the ingredients of a teen-drama by inducing hormonal attitudes and coupling them with hopeful romance. On the road trip, Marcus is joined by young singer Mandy — she emanates the typical “mysterious teen girl” that grips an inexperienced boy’s attention. So by definition, she’s positioned as mystifying — a heralded “hidden gem” as described by our lead character. We’ve seen it plenty of times — “boy meets girl”, and the rest follows. Yet we do not tire of it, and The Ultimate Playlist of Noise brings some credible chemistry between the cast members, re-flavouring an old trope.

An appreciation for music and earthly sounds is displayed with enthusiasm. It’s Marcus’s willingness to check off a list and enjoy the simple things in life that will engage viewers — that emotional pull of a character basting in the basics is fascinating; listening to a highway at 80mph or a cow “moo” while your favorite music hits play is something that we treat as an everyday experience. The film imagines a reality of losing one’s hearing, and how suddenly, sounds become the most important thing in the world. There’s a beauty in that that we can appreciate.

Mandy is not a shoehorned character despite fulfilling the “boy meets girl” stereotype. This is a character that represents escapism. The Ultimate Playlist of Noise brings a duo together trying to find purpose in a journey to New York that does not guarantee answers. Without Mandy, there could not be a Marcus, and vice versa; their contrasting personalities blend like a fine strawberry smoothie on a hot summer’s day. They were cast well.

Some will accuse The Ultimate Playlist of Noise of being generic and cheesy, and there’s life in that criticism. The film plays the same beat of hopefulness, misplaced romance and purpose, yet it often overbears the darker elements that follow. While we can all assume this rolls into the romance genre, The Ultimate Playlist of Noise struggles to know what its true end objective is. There’s this sense of a spiritual “coming-of-age” without the ageing, but a growing need to mature and discover oneself. And while there’s a beauty in that, the film could easily be discarded as just a stereotypical teen drama that goes through the usual motions.

Despite no surprises in the writing, The Ultimate Playlist of Noise will etch a smile on your face by encapsulating hope, romance and finding true purpose.

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