Wednesday, May 17, 2017

'Before I Fall' Is a Competent Stuck-in-a-Time-Loop Drama

Ever since Groundhog Day introduced and perfected the “being stuck in a time loop to relive one day over and over again” premise, only two movies – Source Code and Edge of Tomorrow – came close in really innovating the concept.  Even so, they didn’t quite utilize it in the same pleasing and flawless manner that Groundhog Day did.

Now, this year’s Before I Fall is the latest movie to attempt making something fresh and interesting about the reliving-a-day-repeatedly concept.  Did it succeed?

Before I Fall revolves around Samantha Kingston (Zoey Deutch), a girl who seemingly has a perfect high school life.  Popularity, BFFs, a boyfriend, and a bright future – she has it all.  On Cupid’s Day, she and her friends are driving home from a party when they hit something, crashing the car and killing her.  However, she mysteriously finds herself waking up on the same day.  She initially thinks that it has all been a dream, but soon realizes that she’s stuck in a time loop of Cupid’s Day.  As she relives the same day over and over again, Samantha gradually gains the clarity of seeing that her life isn’t so perfect after all, resulting to her taking the opportunity to do something meaningful with it – even for just one day.
So what’s the answer to the question in the second paragraph?  That would be, “Not really.”  It’s only “fresh” in the sense that the “reliving one day over and over again” premise is being used in a YA drama, after it had been done through comedy (Groundhog Day), science fiction thriller (Source Code), and science fiction action (Edge of Tomorrow).  Other than that, its themes and plotline are pretty much hackneyed.

But Before I Fall isn’t necessarily a bad movie.  It’s a competent drama, and Zoey Deutch (I kind of enjoyed her ASMR-ish voice) carries the movie well.   I just found it hard to care for the story or the lead character.   However, certain demographics (most specifically, teenage-young adult females who haven’t seen Groundhog Day yet) will certainly find this film compelling enough.   It’s simply not my cup of tea.  Personally, though the movie has the guts to opt for a bold albeit predictable culmination, I think that the meaningful point it’s trying to make has already been presented with much more impact, though in a broader and less poignant sense, in Groundhog Day.

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