Before I Fall Movie Review

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I love me a good time loop movie. Groundhog Day may be the most famous, but Edge of Tomorrow did it amazingly well in 2014, and 2011’s Source Code is one of my favorite films of all time. I’m also a big fan of Zoey Deutch, and even if she’s in a bad movie, she’s usually good in it. I wasn’t seriously looking forward to Before I Fall mostly because I’m so sick of the Young Adult genre, but I always try to stay optimistic. I’ll see just about anything, and I had the chance to see Before I Fall, so let’s talk about it!

Before I Fall is directed by Ry Russo-Young and stars Zoey Deutch, Halston Sage, Logan Miller, Cynthy Wu, and Erica Tremblay. It’s Friday, and Samantha Kingston, played by Deutch, is the coolest girl at school. Actually, she’s second to her best friend. On one night that doesn’t seem much different from any other, Samantha and her friends are involved in a deadly car crash. But were they? Samantha wakes up to find herself tucked under the covers listening to her wake up song and realizes that the day has reset. She has another shot to make things right, and she has to take advantage of it.

I wasn’t expecting to like this movie, but I walked out realizing that it’s actually a different take on the YA genre that feels fresh. First of all, Zoey Deutch is very good in this role. Per usual, it’s not a groundbreaking role, but she’s very good, and she always seems to embody her characters in a perfect way that suits the movie. Nothing more, nothing less. I bought into her character, and I bought into Deutch as the character. I don’t know what it is, but there are so many times that I don’t find the protagonist of a YA film likable. I don’t find Katniss, Tris, Bella, or many of the other YA lead girls likable. Yes, Samantha has her moments where she falls from grace, but for the most part, I was behind her and her struggles. I also genuinely enjoyed watching her relive this day over and over again. I love time loops. Love them, love them, love them. To see one where it really feels different every day with characters picking up on cues and slowly learning how to beat the system is really nice. It’s a struggle because I know what she needs to do, but you get a bit anxious seeing if she can put her detective glasses on and figure it out. I love that anxious feeling as we watch her become a better and better person in literally no time. I always think that’s the ironic thing about time loop movies. We see a character go through a drastic change despite the fact that they’re covering no time. Realistically, they have all the time in the world to change, but at the end of the day, they have used just one day to make an unbelievable change. I also think that this movie has a good message about treating others as you would want to be treated. It’s not reinventing the wheel with it’s message, but it shows just how much having compassion for your peers can change everything you know.

While I’ll say that I liked the second and third act of this film, I hated the first act. When we’re being introduced to Sam and her friends, I found them absolutely unbearable. Sam never crosses the line to the point where I just hate her, but her friends are some of the worst people I’ve ever seen. You can tell that Sam is uncomfortable with it, but her loyalty still lies with them, and that bugged me. Her friends are the type of people I hated in high school who had no clue who their meanness was affecting and were able to easily fit in with the popular crowd simply by being genetically gifted and treating those with different hobbies like aliens. There’s a fine line between having characters who have room for improvement and having characters who are flat-out ridiculous and awful. They’re so mean that I think the film should have taken an unexpected turn where Sam has to perform exorcisms on all of them because people that mean are definitely possessed. Then there are moments where they try to make you feel bad for them and connect with their problems. I don’t care about you and your rich, popular problems. We also have a lot of the YA clichés such as the popular girl with the popular boy, the popular boy obviously has far inferior morals to the unpopular pursuer of the popular girl, and the popular girl eventually realizes that. You get your standard serving of prime YA steak. I’m also still not sure how I feel about the ending. I know that it’s not a positive, but it may also not be a negative for the time being. Either way, I’m pretty sure it’s avoidable which always pushes toward the negative spectrum.

Overall, I think that Before I Fall does a good job of giving us a likable YA protagonist with an interesting time loop. I love time loops, so if you love watching a main character change and learn as they relive the same day over and over again, I’d suggest seeing Before I Fall. I was very much entertained watching the same day play out, and the film does a good job of changing just enough to keep the audience on the edge of their seat while also building a character. I also thought it had a good message about respect and being kind, so it does have substance. I hated the first act mostly because it deals with rich, popular girl problems, and it follows a few YA clichés, but Before I Fall is actually an entertaining time loop film with a good lead and a good message. I’m going to give Before I Fall a 6.6/10.

Will you be seeing Before I Fall? Comment down in the comment section and let me know! As always, thank you, and keep listening to 88.7 The Pulse!

About Justin Lyons

Hey, it's Justin Lyons! I am the Chief Film Critic for The Pulse. Have any questions for me? Please feel free to email me at [email protected]