Before I Fall

2017-06-10 08:51

What it’s about:

Samantha Kingston has everything—the perfect friends, the perfect guy, and a seemingly perfect future. Then, one fateful night, everything changes. She wakes up with no future at all. Trapped reliving the same day over and over, she begins to question just how perfect her life really was. 

As she begins to untangle the mystery of a life suddenly derailed, she must also unwind the secrets of the people closest to her, and discover the power of a single day to make a difference, not just in her own life, but in the lives of those around her, before she runs out of time for good.

What we thought:

Before I start with this review, it should be noted that I’m a read the book before seeing the movie girl at heart, so what I’m about to say next is something that not only surprised me but will no doubt cause heart palpitations amongst my fellow bookish purists.

Before I Fall is the kind of movie where it actually doesn’t matter if you’ve read the book. 

In fact, it’s one of those movies that you should watch before reading the book simply because the concept of groundhogs day is one that better lends itself to the screen than it does a book. 

The book, written by Lauren Oliver (she’s also one of the executive producers of the movie, which is a big plus for the film), isn’t a bad book at all. In fact, Lauren’s prose alone is a good reason why you should read the novel.

And yet you might find yourself frustrated because the nuances of how Sam experiences the same day over and over again tends to get lost in feelings of frustration because the feeling of reading the same thing (just in a different way) tends to be far more overt, thereby taking away from the enjoyment of the novel.

Watching the movie first will therefore give you an idea of the subtle (and not so subtle) changes you can expect – making your reading experience a far more enjoyable experience. 

But, to get back to the movie. As far as adaptations go, Before I Fall is a pretty solid effort. I went in with few expectations and came out feeling pleasantly surprised by how well done this movie was. 

In fact, I dare say that this is one of the few book-to-film adaptations that actually captures the essence of the book and enhances it. I’ve always loved stories that feature redemptive arcs, and Oliver’s novel is essentially one that’s really brought to life on the big screen.

Sam Kingston, played by the talented Zoey Deutch, has everything going for her. She’s popular, has a boyfriend that almost every girl wants and comes from a good home.

Yet, she and her friends are also the mean girls – the ones who rule the school and use every opportunity to belittle and mock Juliet (Elena Kampouris) the school’s resident “weird girl” and whose actions have far reaching consequences during the course of the story. 

When a night at a party goes horribly wrong and leads to Sam’s death, Sam finds herself suddenly trapped and reliving the same day over and over again.  

Exploring themes of bullying, second chances and the power of redemption, Before I Fall is the kind of movie that shows the cause and effects of our consequences. 

The predominantly female cast steal the show with their heartfelt performances of angsty, selfish and self-absorbed teens who simply live for the moment they’re in.

It’s Zoey Deutch though, who truly shines as we see how she progresses from a girl who goes from being a bratty mean girl, to one who searches for meaning in the little things she does every day she wakes up experiencing the same day.

The movie is gut-wrenching and surprising in many aspects. 

It shows scenes playing out in the same way, but the way in which it changes through each new way in which the protagonist decides to change the way she interacts with everyone she’s hurt, is what makes this so particularly powerful.

What I also loved about the movie is that it visibly shows that most of the times, when people are mean, they’re often that way for very good reasons – and while it certainly doesn’t excuse the awful behaviour that makes for some uncomfortable watching at times, it does give you the much-needed insight that there is more than one story to tell.

Of course, it’s not without its flaws – there are many moments where that seemed to be way too overdramatic, but for all  that, Before I Fall is a movie teens and young adults alike should see – and it’s the kind that I wish was around when I was in my teens.

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