A couple years ago, I sat through the movie ‘Vampire Academy’. It turned out to be just another YA series-turned-movie that didn’t quite match the "quality" or fan hysteria of ‘Twilight’, and thus was destined for the bargain bin at your local DVD outlet. However, there was one shining light among the fang-toothed mess, and her name was Zoey Deutch. When there are so many pretty faces thrust in front of us day in and day as they scream “Look at her! Look at her!” without cause to, I felt that I’d genuinely spotted a slice of talent that had “it”. It turns out I’d seen her before in ‘Beautiful Creatures’ - yet another piece of YA fodder that didn’t quite cut the mustard. Then she started popping up all over the place: Zac Efron’s love interest, Blake Jenner’s love interest, and most recently James Franco’s love interest. In my fantasy world she’s Marty McFly’s sister (Google it) and she finally becomes the wondrous headlining talent I know her to be. Well, today is sort of that day - only not really.
Zoey’s latest effort is yet another “gem” from the YA doldrums is 'Before I Fall', in which popularity reigns supreme, losing one's virginity seems like the most important thing in the world, there’s a weird chick, an overlooked boy, and it seems that everyone is just an onion waiting to be peeled.
Meet Sam (Deutch). She’s on the verge of finally finishing high school alongside her three besties. All four girls are beautiful and popular yet have a mean streak. One Friday night after tormenting the class “weirdo” at a party, the girls are involved in a car crash, but when Sam wakes up it’s Friday morning all over again. Doomed to repeat the same day over and over again, Sam soon discovers that if her actions don’t mean anything, she’ll make them mean everything and finally right some wrongs.
At 99 minutes the repetition of days is limited enough that it doesn’t get tiresome however the emotional issues that the characters face do come off as trite.
Based on the 2010 novel of the same name by Lauren Oliver, it’s definitely predictable and not particularly original or profound, but it does send a nice message about the ripple effects our actions have and questioning why we do the things we do. At 99 minutes, the repetition of days is limited enough that it doesn’t get tiresome, however the emotional issues that the characters face do come off as trite and are not nearly handled on a deep enough level to transcend its teen genre.
Ultimately, ‘Before I Fall’ boils down to live each day as if it were your last and be kind to one another - I can just watch ‘Ellen’ to get the same message. Nonetheless, my Zoey still has a ways to go before I can be truly proud, but she’s getting there.