Linda Cook review: ‘Clouds’ is uplifting look at a life cut short by cancer

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“Clouds” is not necessarily a “faith-based movie.” It’s an endearing movie about a real-life young man who had faith.

The film is adapted from a memoir, “Fly a Little Higher: How God Answered a Mom’s Small Prayer in a Big Way.”
It isn’t preachy but it’s inspirational.

Zach Sobiech was a teenager who when he wrote the hit song “Clouds.” He faced his diagnosis of terminal osteosarcoma with humor, strength and determination.

The charming Fin Argus (“Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D”) plays Zach as a goofy, likeable kid who has been a cancer patient for years. He makes his way through the halls of his Minnesota high school on crutches and makes jokes about his lack of hair.

He longs to write his own music, and his best friend Sammy (Sabrina Carpenter, “Work It”) continually encourages him.

Sammy has more than best-friend feelings for Zach, but he doesn’t see it. He has eyes for another girl, and, despite his misgivings about their relationship because of his cancer, she returns his affections.

This love triangle is part of the core of the movie – it’s believable and engaging.

It’s perfect for its Disney+ platform, but it had been set to release on the big screen.

Zach’s illness creates disturbances all around, from his plans to be a musician to a fight between his parents (Neve Campbell and Tom Everett Scott) both of whom love their son and losing him sooner than they anticipated.

I like the way the film handles the approach of death – some of the scenes in which Zach struggles are likely to bring you to tears. It also delivers joyous moments when “Clouds” becomes a serious contender for airplay and an audience.

I was familiar with the song, but I had no idea how dramatic its origins were, nor was I familiar with Zach’s story.

This is an enjoyable biopic which, even while its overall topic is a sad one, is uplifting because of Zach’s personality and faith. The movie, and Zach himself, will touch your heart.

3 out of 4 stars

Streaming on Disney+.

Running time: Two hours and 1 minute.

Rated: PG-13 for brief sexuality, foul language and adult themes.

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