Friday, April 21, 2017

Before I Fall is Groundhog Day meets Mean Girls

Movie Title:  Before I Fall

Grade:  B

Rating:  PG-13, 99 minutes

In a Nutshell: Teenage girls.  Squee!  (I’m so glad I have 4 sons.  Translation = no exhausting drama.)  

This is sort of a teenage girl version of  Groundhog Day (one of my all-time favorites.)  Another film that did the repeat-each-day format well was Live Die Repeat: Edge of Tomorrow . 

This thought-provoking flick is based on the young-adult novel Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver (2010-03-02).

Uplifting theme: 
  • Become who you are.  (on a poster in Kent's bedroom)
  • Friendship, kindness, not judging others
  • On a bathroom wall at Sam’s school, someone wrote “Only those who attempt the absurd achieve the impossible.”
  • “Just focus on that one good thing and you see where it leads you.” – Mrs. Kingston (Jennifer Beals)
  • Cherish every day you have.
  • “What you do today matters…in the minute and maybe into infinity.” –  Samantha Kingston (Zoey Deutch)
  • What do you want to be remembered for?

Things I liked:
  • Zoey Deutch is lovely and has a bright future in films if she wants one.  
  • Adults will most likely roll their eyes, but for teens who are developing their moral compass, it just might give them pause to reflect on their own behavior and attitudes.
  • Teenage girls need to remember that their mothers often have the same insecurities that they do.  It was sweet when Samantha told her mother she thought she was beautiful.
  • The English literature teacher (played by Diego Boneta) asks the students if they know what Sisyphus means, but you never get to hear him actually explain it.  It means a difficult or futile endeavor, named after Sisyphus, a son of Aeolus and ruler of Corinth, who was punished for his trickery by being forced by the gods to roll a stone to the top of a slope, only to have it roll back down for eternity.  Samantha has a similar challenge of pushing through some problems that seem to go on forever.
  • This is the perfect movie for teenage girls to watch at a slumber party.  They'll all be hugging and crying and vowing to be more kind by the end.
  • The movie was filmed in only 24 days, which isn't too surprising, since so many of the scenes are told over and over.
  • Halston Sage is the perfect mean girl.  She and Logan Miller were both in Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse.   
  • The little girl who plays Sam's sister (played by Erica Tremblay) is the real life sister of the little boy who stars in Room (Jacob Tremblay).  They sure look alike!

Things I didn’t like:
  • Elody  (Medalion Rahimi) says, “No glove. No love” and hands Samantha a condom since it’s Valentine’s Day.  As a Mormon, I'm very old-fashioned that way.
  • Juliet texts and drives. 
  • It takes Samantha a very long time before she decides to take bold action.

    • Samantha accuses Lindsay of having all kinds of venereal diseases to Lindsay replies, “At least I’m not still a virgin.”  What a ridiculous thing to say, as if being a slut is better than being a virgin?  Our world sure is backwards.
    • Why would Sam even want to hang out with such mean girls?  
    • It makes me really glad I'm not in high school again.
    • There isn’t much humor.
    • It's pretty slow-moving.

Interesting lines:
  • “If I’m going to relive the same day over and over, I want it to be a worthy day, and not just for me.” – Sam
  • “I truly understand how to live this day.” - Sam

Tips for parents: 
  • A girl lifts up her shirt to show her bra.
  • Discussion of sex and STD’s.
  • Some of the teenagers are really mean and bully others.
  • Lots of inappropriate behavior.
  • Teens drinking alcohol at a party.
  • Lots of profanity, including an F-bomb.
  • There is a graphic suicide and several bad car crashes. 

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