WARM BODIES movie review

by Katie Gile
A love-hungry boy longs for connection and finds it with a feisty girl. It’s a plot structure familiar enough to a fan of romance-comedies.
But what’s the kicker?
He’s a zombie and she’s a zombie-hunting human.
“Warm Bodies” is the highly imaginative and literally heartwarming tale in which zombie meets girl and becomes human through the power of love.
R, the “corpse” in question, is neurotic and compassionate as he observes and describes the behavior of his fellow zombies, the “bonies” and the living people on which they all feed.
On the hunt for a meal, R meets Julie, a human who’s survived the zombie plague behind walls constructed by her militant father. When she and a party of humans are outside the walls to scavenge for medicines, R and his fellow hungry corpses attack. In the midst of the confrontation, R saves Julie from a horde of hungry corpses and sneaks her into his home. Through a series of events, both charmingly funny and refreshingly original, R & Julie develop affection for each other and R gradually becomes more human.
Director and screenwriter Jonathan Levine does a magnificent job creating a visually engaging and cohesive tale that charms on its own terms. The use of consistent, sometimes ironic voiceover and stop-start filming were excellent choices and allowed for the best telling of this dynamic story. Dedicated to honest storytelling and jammed with small comedic moments, “Warm Bodies” is an unassuming delight that kept the audience laughing from beginning to end.
The script of “Warm Bodies” — and the novel by Isaac Marion that it was based upon — has more than a little in common with Romeo and Juliet, though its reimagination is perfectly appropriated to a zombie-loving culture. The plot and dialogue were very well-written, even if the plot structure is familiar to anyone who passed English class. But it’s an impressive testament to Levine’s original and unfettered style that such a familiar story felt uniquely charming and fresh.
Nicholas Hoult was stellar as R, his quick-talking neuroses keeping us laughing as R’s observations endeared him to us even as he fed on humans. If there could ever be a sympathetic zombie, Hoult has brought him to life with clear-eyed honesty and vulnerable stillness.
Teresa Palmer stars as Julie, providing the energetic and empathetic spark that brings R to life. Her quiet, tough take on the heroine was right on the money as she never over-performed and successfully played for subtlety.
Supporting the star-crossed lovers are the wonderful Analeigh Tipton, Rob Corddry, Dave Franco and John Malkovich. There wasn’t a weak point in this sweet little movie and the fantastic cast made sure of it.
“Warm Bodies” earns its PG-13 rating primarily for gory violence, as it’s a zombie film. But the movie itself is its own fun version of a romance comedy and a great choice for a date night. Telling several stories at once with the over-arching theme that we could all use a little wake-up call in our hustling lives and constant assumptions, “Warm Bodies” is a quiet charmer and certainly worthy of a repeat viewing.