Slipping back into my favourite film niche of dramas, I found myself watching a new arrival on Netflix titled ‘Before I Fall’. Based on the novel by Lauren Oliver, the young adult drama powerfully explores and captures the emotions of being cursed and blessed to constantly relive your death day until you live it right.
The story follows Sam Kingston, the popular, smart and pretty high school senior, who is played by ‘Vampire Academy’ star Zoey Deutch. Sam’s death day, Friday 12th February, which is also known as Cupid’s Day, consist of her having a blast with her 3 best friends, as they manoeuvre their way through the most attractive boys in their year; ignoring a nice boy named Kent (Logan Miller) and turning a blind eye whilst her friends bully the rest of her classmates, in particular, a girl named Juliet Sykes (Elena Kampouris). Her ignorance is seen to be justified, as Sam is preoccupied preparing for her upcoming deflowering by her hunk of a boyfriend, Rob (Kian Lawley). However, after attending Kent’s party later on that night, Sam and her friends meet their end. They areh involved in a fatal car crash that only Sam wakes up from, only for her to relive her death day over and over again. The movie follows this pattern, as Sam tries to change the events of the day and prevent herself, and soon everyone else from dying.
As a writer myself, I’m a big believer that a good film is created when a director vision for a film is truly inspired by a great script, and both these expectations are delivered by the actors. Thus at first, director Ry Russo-Young’s “Before I Fall” feels as if it is about to fall into the category of just another superficial teen drama. But once Sam is forced to relive Cupid’s Day for the second time, this film, which can be likened to Groundhog Day without the laughs, distances itself from its shallow comparisons.
The theme of second chances is widely explored in its rawest form, with Sam adapting her stages of grief and confusion of reliving her death day. Sam’s continuous second chances allow her to see beyond the superficial layers she has built around her life, and open her eyes to what really matters. These growing realisation ultimately carry the story to eventually deliver the film with its unavoidable bittersweet ending.
Therefore, with a 6/10, ’Before I Fall’, like other time loop movies, reminds the audience of a fact we all know to be true, time is precious. And like dominos, every action we make has a knock on effect, that affects the people around us, in ways we may never comprehend.