BEFORE I FALL: A Belated Solo at the Cinema Review

Hello all! Sorry about the lack of posts! My computer died, so I haven’t been able to write as much. Since Sundance, there has been a whirlwind of things to write about, but so little time! One of the films I saw at Sundance was Before I Fall– which comes out officially nationwide tomorrow. Before I Fall is based on a book of the same name by Lauren Oliver, and directed by Ry Russo-Young. Prior to the screening, I had no idea what to expect. All I knew that I was tired as hell and cold from waking up at the crack of dawn for an 8:30 am screening. On the surface, Before I Fall looked like some newer version of Mean Girls. I was wrong. Very wrong.

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Photo Still From Before I Fall 

Before I Fall is about a young woman named Samantha Kingston (Zoey Deutch) who’s beautiful, popular, and uncaring. She’s best friends with the school’s resident mean girl Lindsay (Halston Sage) and her two other pals- Elody (Medalion Rahimi) and Ally (Cynthy Wu). Together, they breeze through high school, oblivious to those they hurt- especially outcast Juliet (Elena Kampouris). At the beginning of the film, Samantha is looking forward to losing her virginity on Valentine’s Day, and other superficial “problems”.

After a party gone wrong,  Samantha and her friends hit the road, and crash in the wilderness. After the tragic accident, Samantha finds herself in a bizarre purgatory where she’s stuck in endless time loop- where she is forced to repeat the final day of her life over and over until she gets it right.

You would think this theme would get repetitive, but each time Samantha repeats the day before her fate, things change- bringing something fresh and new each time. Over the course of the film, Samantha goes from confused to frustrated to peaceful to proactive about her situation. Samantha stands up to Lindsay and her “boyfriend” Rob (Kian Lawley), and builds a stronger bond with her family and friends, discovers real love with her long-time admirer Kent (Logan Miller), redeems herself in the eyes of outsider Anna (Liv Hewson), and saves Juliet from a terrible fate. Samantha learns how to make something right with each new episode, until her character goes trough a 360 transformation. Over time, she learns the value of family and friendship, and something much bigger- sacrifice.

Without spoiling the entire film, I will say that is a great film to use as a point of discussion. It is not a typical YA film- as it explores very heavy subject matter such as suicide, the afterlife, and redemption. It does make you think though, and that’s what good films do.

Thanks for reading, and I hope you go see Before I Fall in theaters!

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ADRIANA, THE CINEMA SOLOIST

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