Before I Fall Blu-ray Review
BEFORE I FALL is a film that definitely surprised me. This was a pleasant surprise. It delves deeper into the teen psyche than the usual teen film. There is a maturity here that doesn’t talk down to the audience and it is refreshing to watch.
The narrator of the film is Samantha (Zoey Deutch), a popular high school student. She basically says that we don’t know how many days we have left and we should live them to the fullest. She adds grimly that this is her last day, but she didn’t know it. She has a trio of close friends named Lindsay (Halston Sage), Elody (Medalion Rahimi) and Ally (Cynthy Wu). The high school is celebrating Cupid’s Day, their version of Valentine’s Day. All the popular girls get flowers sent to them in class. Others get nothing or get flowers with a mean cards attached to them.
Director Ry Russo-Young and Screenwriter Maria Maggenti establish early on that this group of girls is not nice girls. They viciously put down or torment anyone that gets in their way. One of their main targets is Juliet (Elena Kampouris), a frizzed hair girl who they taunt with cruel names and who they send flowers to every year with a belittling message. They also have fun with wrecking the social life of a gay student named Anna (Liv Hewson). Lindsay is the ring leader of the shenanigans. She relishes the mayhem that she causes and drinks in the power that it gives her. The other three just go along and even participate in the mean games.
This is scheduled to be a big day for Samantha. She is going to lose her virginity to her boyfriend Rob (Kian Lawley). He is an insensitive jerk and you wonder why Samantha would be with him. And then you remember that she isn’t the nicest of people, so it all makes sense. On the other side, you have Kent (Logan Miller). He is the resident nice guy who has been pining for Samantha since elementary school. He also sent her a specially made rose for this day. He invites her to his house for a party that he is throwing. She is noncommittal to his proposal.
The quartet does eventually get to Kent’s party. Samantha has her eyes opened about Rob. Juliet makes a surprise appearance and confronts Samantha and her friends. She hurls her most vicious venom for Lindsay and then charges at her. Lindsay responds by calling her names and throwing beer at her. Other people start joining in and Juliet storms out of the party into the night. The group of friends soon after leaves the party and get into a serious auto accident. Samantha wakes up the next morning with not a scratch on her. Something is strange though. It is Cupid’s Day once again. Samantha is reliving the day, while other people are not aware of the phenomenon. We have seen this before done in films like “Edge of Tomorrow” and of course “Groundhog Day”.
Samantha is predictably confused by the occurrence. She doesn’t know what to do. She tries to change various things to get her back on the right timeline to no avail. Nothing really works. This is presented in different tactics that Samantha employs. Russo-Young and Maggenti do a great job of peeling back the layers of some of the characters. You soon realize why Lindsay is the way she is. There is a great understanding of her behavior and how she got there. Anna has a great scene with Samantha where she wonders why the group torments her. But she has a great attitude where high school is just a blip in your life and shouldn’t define you. It is a deep conversation that you normally don’t find in these movies. There are several of them in BEFORE I FALL. You have a short conversation between Samantha and her mother where she talks about her high school days. There is another one where Kent shares with Samantha why he likes her.
Zoey Deutch shines throughout the film. This is a star making performance. She lights up the screen every time she is in a scene. I also enjoyed the score by Adam Taylor. There is an electronica feel to it at times. There is an appropriate amount of mystery, dread and hope in the sounds. It does perfectly capture the moods at each moment of the proceedings. The ending may have been a bit too much, but it shouldn’t dampen what was before it.
BEFORE I FALL is a quality high school drama that goes beyond the surface of the characters. It is a film that is worth checking out.
There are no special features at all. A director’s commentary and a making of feature would have helped greatly in understanding the movie more fully. This is a wasted opportunity.
Video: British Columbia looks great on film. The lushness and the greens just jump from the screen. This is a beautiful looking movie.
Audio: The sound was just all right. I did have to put on the closed captioning early on to hear some of the dialogue.