Friday, March 3, 2017
Movie Review: Before I Fall
Comparisons of Before I Fall to Groundhog Day (1993) will be inevitable; however, Before I Fall is much more of a serious movie. The film focuses on the last day in the life of a teenage girl, though she doesn't know it's the last day until certain events occur.
Samantha (Zoey Deutch, Why Him?) wakes up on a typical day—February 12th, dubbed "Cupid's Day" at her high school—and goes about her normal life. Her three best friends pick her up at home, and they ride to school. She receives roses from her boyfriend, Rob (Kian Lawley), as well as one from a secret admirer, though she knows it's from Kent (Logan Miller), a childhood friend of hers, who has had a crush on her for a while. Kent invites her to a party he's throwing that night, and later she and her friends—or "baes," as they call themselves—head to the party.
At the party, they run in to Juliet (Elena Kampouris, My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2), the school outcast, whom the four of them have made fun of for years. Juliet calls them some not-so-nice names, and the friends and other people throw their drinks at her. When the friends leave the party, it's late—12:38am, to be exact, when Samantha looks at her phone to see the time—and then everything goes black.
The "next day," Samantha wakes up with a gasp, thinking it was all a dream ... only to realize, she's reliving the same day as before, Cupid's Day.
I'm a big fan of Lauren Oliver's books, and she wrote the book version of Before I Fall, on which the movie version is based, so I was curious to see if it would hold up. I read the novel a while back, so it's not still crystal clear in my mind, but I very much enjoyed the film version. Sam and her three friends (played by Cynthy Wu, Medalion Rahimi, and Halston Sage) are "mean girls," to the core, but are the people that you might have wanted to be, during the time you were in school: popular kids who thought high school was the best time of their lives. Sam herself is not really a "mean girl," but has absorbed the meanness of her friends - they're incessantly mean to Juliet, in particular, and later we learn that one of them was actually friends with Juliet when they were younger.
Yes, see this movie. The cast here was great, too - I recently saw Zoey Deutch in Why Him?, as James Franco's character's fiancee, but I liked her better in this film. You might recognize her character's mother, too (Jennifer Beals), as the lead actress in Flashdance (1983), and/or her father, Nicholas Lea, from TV's V (the 2009 remake) or The X-Files. Even if you're not a fan of the typical "teen movie," I'd recommend Before I Fall - it makes you think about what you would do, if you knew you were living the last day of your life, and especially if you had to relive that day over and over until you "got it right."
Before I Fall is in theaters today, March 3rd, and is rated PG-13 with a runtime of 99 minutes. 4 stars out of 5.