The modern time-loop movie sees the protagonist learn the error of their ways, as they change into a better version of themselves to end the loop (see Looper, The Edge of Tomorrow, and Happy Death Day). Director Ry Russo-Young’s adaptation of the YA novel of the same name is no different, and is a serviceable – if slightly bland – take on the genre.
Popular high school student Samantha Kingston (Zoey Deutch) goes through a day of her life, unaware of her impending death that night. Her group of rather one-dimensional friends includes hot mean girl Lindsay (Halston Sage), high-strung overachiever Ally (Cynthy Wu) and wild party girl Elody (Medallion Rahimi), who all die with her in the same car crash.
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Samantha wakes up after the accident in her own bed – but at the start of the day of the crash. She is forced to relive this one day over and over again, until she “gets it right”. Soon, she realises she (and her friends) haven’t been the nicest people, and she slowly grasps the changes she must make to close this time-loop.
Deutch works hard to bring Samantha to life, as she goes through the emotional changes of knowing her actions may not matter in the end. She gamely tries to soldier on, but the predictable plot, and by-the-numbers “touching” scenes, don’t give her much to work with.
The supporting cast is also fine, with Sage standing out as the tough leader that has her own reasons for being such a bully. Everyone else is okay, but pretty forgettable.
One highlight of the film is that it’s a surprising visual delight. The mountains of British Columbia serve as a beautiful backdrop to the required key scenes present in every teen movie, such as the long winding drive along pristine snowy roads as the whole gang meets up. The movie is shot well and the gorgeous winter vistas of lakes and forests makes the viewer want to spend some time abroad.
So, lessons are learned, amendments are made, new bonds are formed, and you are entertained. Moderately. We look forward to more from the young cast of Before I Fall in the future – just not from a sequel to this.
Edited by Ginny Wong