We wanted to do a review about Before I Fall, the new movie based Lauren Oliver’s book, but we ended up piecing together a bunch of random thoughts instead. Check out our “review” below.
Elizabeth: I’d never read the book, so I went into the movie with almost no expectations at all. And it still wasn’t what I expected.
Jada: I had only seen the movie poster that said, “What if today was the only day for the rest of your life.” Immediately I was intrigued, but wasn’t expecting much. I was wrong.
Elizabeth: In the beginning of the movie I thought they almost lost the audience, when it was all cute girls shrieking in a car, being popular, joking about sex, and being catty to the lesser folk around them. I felt the audience take a breath and think “Ah. It’s a teenager movie. We’ll get pretty people and sex and a lesson learned. How long is this movie again?”
Jada: When the movie first started I thought “Was this filmed in Forks? Oh God, I hope no one sparkles.”
Elizabeth: The movie got everybody back though by doing everything so well.
Jada: I love how the movie was shot. It really created that whole teenage years uneasy feeling in your gut.
Elizabeth: It’s beautifully shot, lovely scenes of the Pacific Northwest, snappy dialog, excellent acting.
Jada: The actors are young but they are great. And awfully pretty. I remember my boobs being lovely at 17. Sigh.
Elizabeth: Heh, yes, very pretty people in gorgeous modern houses having parties the likes of which I never saw in MY high school days, but I’m sure they were going on somewhere. The movies said they were anyway.
Jada: What is the hell is with the roses thing? How horrible. “You suck! You didn’t get a rose!” What is this the bachelor or some shit? But I guess teenagers are all about themselves so it worked.
Elizabeth: And then they almost lost us again when she’s in a horrible car accident, presumably dies, and and wakes up in bed exactly where she started the movie, and starts to do the whole day over.
Jada: I heard the dude in front of me say, “Groundhog Day.”
Elizabeth: (Obviously from someone else like us who hadn’t read the book.)
Jada: I realized that we had only been through the day once and it seemed like a lot of time passed. How long is this movie anyway?
Elizabeth: Groundhog Day type movies are EXHAUSTING. You wonder exactly how many times we’ll see the same thing, what lessons are we going to learn, how ridiculous will it get when the person realizes they can do ANYTHING?
Here’s the thing though: the movie still won us back. Because but they did it really well.
Jada: I was worried about how they would handle the repeat of the day but I was pleasantly surprised at how well it was thought out. I always love to try to guess what happens next and I was so happy when I couldn’t!
Elizabeth: I never felt that Groundhog Day exhaustion, because the timeline could be changed just enough each time that we were never sure exactly what was going to happen. Samantha’s friends and family would act differently depending on what she did, but some lines (The handed-over condom with the advice “It goes on HIM.”) would always crop up.
Jada: Samantha is a typical teen but by the end she is a selfless girl who makes the best of her situation.
Elizabeth: Zoey Deutch does a fantastic job as Samantha, and her character grows slowly through the whole movie, always naturally and subtly. She goes from confusion to fear to RAGE to acceptance in a way that’s wonderful to watch.
Jada: I especially loved Kent. He has that awkward, nerdy boy down. That happens to be my type.
Elizabeth: A lot of fantastic actors in their young twenties that I’m sure we’ll see a lot more of in the next few years.
Jada: But I hated how the girls acted toward other girls. My God, it was like I was back in school and I am not sure what crowd I belong in. I would like to give a shout out to Halston Sage, who played Lindsey. She can play a real bitch.
Elizabeth: I loved all the clever lines.
“Did you get up on the wrong side of the bed?”
“Yeah. For a few days now.”
(It wasn’t so much the line as the delivery, which was hilarious.)
Jada: My heart was pounding by the time Samantha realized what she had to do. And there were times I was telling myself, “I am not going to cry. I am not going to cry. This is a YA movie for God’s sake!” I need an adult beverage.
Elizabeth: it totally could’ve been just another forgettable young adult movie, but they pulled out all the stops on this one. Definitely not what I was expecting.