Before I Fall

Starring: Zoey Deutch, Halston Sage, Logan Miller, Kian Lawley, Elena Kampouris, Cynthy Wu, Liv Hewson
Directed By: Ry Russo-Young

Plot: On Valentines Day, Samantha (Deutch) finds herself stuck in a timeloop where she wakes up, goes to school, goes to a party, and then dies in a car crash with her friends. As she keeps repeating the day, she tries to change her future, in order to stop the loop from continuing. But what if she can’t stop the loop? What if she has no future?

What Works: This is going to be a short paragraph. I like some of the actors in this project. Liv Hewson is used for about 5 minutes in this film and manages to be the most interesting thing about this film. Her character is a blip on the radar, but she’s fantastic. That’s the second time I’ve seen her in something where she’s stolen the whole show. I don’t know why this girl isn’t being given more lead roles, because she ends up stealing the spotlight anyway. You might as well just give it to her. I liked Halston Sage in Paper Towns and Goosebumps. She’s actually good at being bitchy here. Zoey Deutch has been better in other films, but I still have a generally favorable opinion of her as an actress. There’s about 20 minutes of this film that I liked, when Samantha basically says fuck it, and she dresses all in black and does and says whatever she wants. I felt like finally her character was having some development, then the film backed off and went in another direction. Also, I actually liked the trailer for this film, which is th whole reason I saw this pile of shit in the first place.

What Doesn’t Work: I totally regret having seen this in theatres. This movie is fucking terrible. We start off with a lead character who spends most of the movie sleepwalking through scenes, and her three friends (two of which could literally be played by a different actress in each scene and you’d never know the difference). The only one with any kind of “character development” is Lindsey (Sage). Most of her character’s background is given in exposition, and she spends the majority of the film bitchy, before the film gives up on following her as a character. The screenwriter of this project has no idea what character development is, or character arcs, because no one has them. Drunk boyfriend is always drunk boyfriend. Bitchy popular girl is always bitchy. The two “other friends” do nothing to further the story, and have no distinct personality traits. One is given some backstory that she recently broke up with her boyfriend, and the other has jokes made about how she gets a little too wasted at parties. That’s it. And all these kids live in super nice houses. None of them seem to be poor. I don’t understand why Lindsey is the only one with the car. They clearly look like they can all afford cars. Our main character, Samantha, sleepwalks through each scene. She’s given some slight character arc because she realizes she was a bitch, and then becomes nicer to people around her. THATS IT. She doesn’t become smarter, or more independent, she just stops being such a bitch to everyone. Basically, this is Mean Girls + Groundhog Day + LOTS of Ambien. I almost fell asleep watching this because it was so incredibly boring. Things kept happening that didn’t further the story or characters. She goes off to spend time with her sister, or she’s nicer to her mom. Basically everything just reinforces the one tiny arc she has, which is to become less of a bitch. There’s this slight mystery introduced about one of the side characters committing suicide that goes nowhere and the audience never learns anything. Other than this girl being bullied, we never know why that’s so significant. We never learn why Samantha was chosen for this time loop. It makes the ending more frustrating, because this film feels like it doesn’t have to give you any answers. In the end, Samantha feels like she’s lived her best life, and she’ll be remembered for the good times. In reality, she had one good day. No one is going to be like “Wow, it sucks that she died. She was so nice on her last day, after being a bitch for all of high school.” I have very little nice things to say about this film. I don’t even think it was shot well. It’s a dark film, with this ugly blue hue over most of it. There’s shots of Deutch falling back into the bed that just look like the same reused shots over and over. I wonder how many times they actually bothered shooting unique versions of scenes.

Final Word: I’m honestly baffled that this film has a 67% on Rotten Tomatoes. That blows my mind. As Matt Pais pointed out, this film makes about as much sense as a “studio that makes a movie set on Valentines Day weekend that bites from Groundhog Day and then releases it in March.” I’m glad someone understands my pain.

FINAL GRADE: D

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