Today’s review is on Before I Fall, a cryptic title that can symbolize so many things in the world of Hollywood. If you have seen the trailers, they portray this movie as another endless time arc installment where days continue to repeat until a solution is found. But outside of that, it was uncertain if the aim was horror, drama, thriller, or just straight up Sci-Fi. So, to solve this question, I’m back in the trenches to give you my thoughts on the film, in hopes of answering your questions. Let’s get started, shall we?
- Great looking cast
- Fun Soundtrack
- Decent acting
- Nice Story
- Good Lessons
Summary: Okay let’s start with the shallower likes of the film with how great the cast looks. Before I fall’s primary actors are beautiful, cute, and many are adjectives that people can use to describe them. Those looking to enjoy 90 minutes of eye candy will get their fill as Zoey Deutch and her teenage friends fill the camera with their flare. If looks aren’t your style, and you go to the movies for music (ironic no?), then you’re in luck because the movie has some fun tracks laced in that again are very fitting and for me toe-tapping as well.
Okay enough of the small likes, let’s get to the good stuff. Movies with an all teen cast are often susceptible to becoming overacted messes that are more annoying than anything else. Not the case for this film. Before I Fall’s leading ladies have created believable relationships that describes the high school experience. The “deep” bonds of a click that are strong, yet so fragile, is a common element in this movie, as well as the hardships teens feel in the pseudo-adult world of being a senior. I felt the love, the hates, the struggles, and the anger all nicely balanced in this film, and kind of connected with some of the issues they had.
While the acting is decent, the story is the stronger quality for me that drove emotion home. The answer to the question, for those who haven’t read the book, is Before I fall is more drama mixed with the Sci-Fi quality of looped time (e.g. Mean Girls meets If I stay with Ground Hog’s Day repetition). I don’t know how the combination works for you, but for this reviewer it wasn’t that bad given my initial expectations of horror. One of the things I appreciated, was how the diverse the days were. With movies that involve repeating the same day, often the scenes grow stale by the third iteration. While this happens at some points (the classroom scene), Before I Fall did a nice job changing up each day as Deutch’s character discovers the problems in her life and grows as a person. And being a guy who appreciates character development, this movie’s strongest aspect is indeed strengthening a fairly shallow character and teaching us some life lessons in the process, before the big “twist” (again assuming you haven’t read the book).
- Lacking in some areas
- Scenes hastily thrown together at times
- Drawn Out
Summary: Film adaptations of books are always lacking given the time constraints and budget a film has. Before I Fall has a lot of things tied well together, but there are still some weaker components that need some amping up. The protagonist’s life is surprisingly complicated for a teenage role, with many demons waiting to face Sami. I applaud their attempts to cover all these issues, and while they did a decent job, I felt some of the qualities were lacking. Many scenes felt rushed, or haphazardly thrown into the mix, lacking the needed development the book most likely had. This lackluster development resulted in fairly simplistic scenes that takes away its theater quality. What also took away from the theater quality was how preachy components of the movie. Hearing Sami randomly go into bouts of loving/appreciating her friends, went down the eye-rolling path for me, as they layered on the cheese heavily. But if you are about the deeper bonds of passion, and straight to the point dialogue, this dislike won’t really affect you. But overall, this reviewer felt many of these dislikes led to an incomplete picture, with lots of drawn out moments to one of the two predictable endings that, while emotional, wasn’t the big excitement I had hoped for.
While I haven’t read the book, Before I fall is indeed a nice refreshing taste on the teenage drama genre. The film seems to be a culmination of many movies brought into one story, with a creative use of the time-looping theme to explore lots of avenues that are missed in movies these days. Throw in some decent relationship building with some good lessons and you have what feels to be a semi-decent portrayal of the book. Yet, the film still needed some fine tuning in the editing compartment to bring full life to this rather simplistic (and clichéd) tale. Overall, this reviewer feels this movie is best left to a home viewing, but encourages you to send your teenagers and pre-teens to this film if you are looking for something.
Movie Overall: 6.0