Disney+’s delightful coming-of-age film Stargirl is every bit of magic we need in the world right now. The film, which stars Grace VanderWaal as the lead character, is based on the YA book of the same name by Jerry Spinelli. The movie is definitely worth a watch — it’s VanderWaal’s first huge role, and she nails it — but if you want a peek at how it all ends, keep reading for a breakdown.
Stargirl comes into the story seemingly out of nowhere. She quickly makes the entirety of Mica High School, as well as Leo (Graham Verchere), fall in love with her. She takes a boring town where nothing ever happens and sprinkles a bit of her glitter and ribbons on it, making everyone call her their good-luck charm. She joins the cheerleading squad and plays her ukulele with the marching band at halftime of the football games, leading the team to have their best season in school history.
Where It All Goes Wrong
During the state championship football game, a player from the opposing team gets hurt and Stargirl runs to help him. She leaves with him in the ambulance, and the Mica High team falls apart. The school blames her for betraying them, and Leo tells her she should just be normal and blend in. She tries, even going by her birth name of Susan, but realizes she just can’t. She’s Stargirl. After she tells Leo she can’t go to the dance with him because of everything that happened, she has a change of heart and tells him he should go and she’ll have a surprise for him there.
The surprise ends up being her coaxing him to get on stage and sing “Just What I Needed” by The Cars in front of the whole school, which ends up turning into a High School Musical-style finale to the dance — after which Stargirl simply disappears.
So Where Does Stargirl Go?
Stargirl vanishes from Mica as seamlessly as she came. Leo goes to look for her, but her mom has sold the house and moved. Leo finally gets to see Stargirl’s “office” that she mentioned earlier in the film when Leo asked why her bedroom was so bare. She told him her glitter and ribbons were in her office, and that’s exactly where they were: in a shed by Archie’s (Giancarlo Esposito) place. In the office, Leo finds all of Stargirl’s notes on people’s birthdays (so she could give them gifts) and where everyone in town lived. She may have only started at Mica High that year, but she’d always been around, just homeschooled. So the neckties Leo had been getting for his birthday every year were actually surprises from her long before he knew she existed.
Stargirl is made of magic, and her short time at Mica High changes everyone for the better. With as easily as she came and went, though, Leo says in the end that it was almost like she was a ghost. She wasn’t, though. She was just a girl who wanted to make friends.