Some teen movies manage to capture the essence of growing up in a way that feels timeless and universal. Other teen movies, well…don’t. Unfortunately, “Before I Fall,” directed by Ry Russo-Young, falls into the latter category. I wanted to be blown away by this film, seeing as it is based off one of my favorite books by Lauren Oliver, but I was left with the feeling of being utterly unimpressed.
“Before I Fall” introduces us to Samantha Kingston, a high school nerd-turned-popular girl, and her three best friends. They’re condescending, spoiled, and just plain rude to anyone who isn’t as attractive as them. One night, on their way back from a party, the girls get into a horrible car crash. Samantha wakes up the next morning only to find that she is reliving the previous day over and over again, and nothing she does seems to help her. We follow Sam as she uncovers all the flaws hidden beneath her seemingly perfect life and learns how to be a decent human being again.
Everything about this film feels superficial, even the parts that aren’t supposed to. With this plot, there’s so much room for depth and important questions about life, but none of those possibilities are addressed in a satisfying way. The story is more focused on making sure the protagonist makes out with the right guy before she must restart her day.
That’s not to say I didn’t enjoy the romantic aspect, because I did. The sweet, innocent romance was probably my favorite part of the movie, but it shouldn’t have been. There were other scenes in the movie that I enjoyed (Sam snapping at her friends and flirting with a teacher and spending quality time with her sister) but nothing that really stayed with me once the credits started rolling.
Also, the ending is much too abrupt for my liking. Everything just seems to happen without sufficient explanation or closure. The whole movie is working toward this epic epiphany and heroic moment, but we don’t get the proper build-up as it’s happening, and suddenly, the movie is over.
“Before I Fall” isn’t a bad film. There are entertaining bits and some amusing dialog. There is character growth. There are interesting relationship dynamics. However, “Before I Fall” is a forgettable film. I have a feeling this movie will not be considered a poignant tale of young adulthood. In fact, in ten years, I’m sure very few will remember this film exists.