Grief and catharsis in JJ Abrams’ Super 8

With The Force Awakens out this week, we revisit the Star Wars director’s wondrous 2011 blockbuster.

Adam Cook


In JJ Abrams 2011 film, Super 8, Joe’s (Joel Courtney) crush, Alice (Elle Fanning), shows up at his bedroom window during a power outage. Their intimate exchange seemingly revs up Joe’s projector, resurrecting images of his mother, who died on a shift at the local mill while filling in for Alice’s drunk father.

In Abrams’ homage to Spielberg – which is also a tribute to the love of making movies – images take on an extra dimension as an intermediary, bringing the characters together in a shared catharsis, as Joe expels his grief and Alice expels her guilt – the projector whirring until the reel reaches its end.

Published 14 Dec 2015

Suggested For You

Meet the prop maker who created the Stormtrooper

By Little White Lies

Andrew Ainsworth reveals how he created a Star Wars icon from his west London workshop in the latest episode of our Artifacts series.

Super 8

By Matt Glasby

JJ Abrams delivers big in this enthralling nostalgia trip to small-town USA circa the 1970s.

review LWLies Recommends

Watch the brand new Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice trailer

By Little White Lies

It’s Bruce Wayne versus Clark Kent in this latest look Zack Snyder’s comic book bonanza.

What are you looking for?

Little White Lies Logo

About Little White Lies

Little White Lies was established in 2005 as a bi-monthly print magazine committed to championing great movies and the talented people who make them. Combining cutting-edge design, illustration and journalism, we’ve been described as being “at the vanguard of the independent publishing movement.” Our reviews feature a unique tripartite ranking system that captures the different aspects of the movie-going experience. We believe in Truth & Movies.