View Post

Before I Fall

Review, Theatrical Leave a Comment

If any teenager is reading this, see something else. See The Edge of Seventeen, or re-watch Mean Girls. Go watch something that actually gets what it means to be a teenager, or even better, something that understands characterisation. Hell, just go see Logan. Or go take a walk instead. Just please don’t see Before I Fall.

Before I Fall sees 18-year-old Sam Kingston (Zoey Deutch) living a charmed life – until a mysterious road accident leaves her reliving her last day over and over again. Struggling to unravel the mystery of her death, Sam begins to piece together clues that could help end her curse, but in the end, will she have lived a life worth living?

The answer is no. Despite its sweet romantic subplot grounding the melodramatic story and a surprising twist that is well deserved, Before I Fall earns none of its heavy beats and sets up no emotional arcs, or even character arcs, handing us characters that barely grow or change. Sam and her predicament are so one-dimensional that you spend the movie guessing what she’s going to do next; we know nothing about her, so her motivations remain a mystery, and we stumble in the dark with this character we couldn’t care less about.

It’s hard to like characters when they’re badly written (by Maria Maggenti – who showed great promise with her indie breakout, The Incredibly True Adventures of Two Girls in Love) teenage stereotypes, and it’s even harder to like them when they’re terrible people, and Sam and her friends sit so perfectly in the middle of that Venn diagram that there is no room for sympathy in this self-important tale. Even Bill Murray managed to have fun in Groundhog Day sometimes! Before I Fall is so fixated on shoehorning life lessons into every scene, creating a message about living life for others and making your days count, that it doesn’t take time to show us the humanity in such an absurd circumstance.

Instead of an emotional rollercoaster of death and life and the choices that we make, Before I Fall is more like rolling down a hill out of control: just painful.