Before I Fall is a teen mystery drama directed by Ry Russo-Young. For Samantha Kingston (Deutch), it was just another day in her high school life. Everything was lining up to be a perfect day. Sam and her best friends would go to a party on Cupid’s Day, were she would lose her virginity to her boyfriend. Things don’t go as planned at the party when a fight breaks out between a loner and Sam’s clique. Leaving the party afterwards the girls get into a car accident. Sam then wakes up. Wondering whether it’s real or just a dream? It would be a day Sam wouldn’t never expect, one that will lead her to question her life choices.
There isn’t anything new about this story that resembles Groundhog Day and Mean Girls. The main differences being it’s doesn’t have a good script or acting. The story about privileged brat high school girls having a moment doesn’t really call out to me. Even if this is a film targeting a younger demographic, I can’t imagine finding the poor script riddled with clichés and weak dialog entertaining. The film lacks tension because of the weakness in the script and constant narration.
This adds to the average acting from a mostly unproven cast. There are some genuine moments that occur when demonstrating the chemistry of the main characters. For the most part though, I found the film to be filled with boring overacted scenes. Again, the script was just awful. It made most of the characters too one-dimensional at an age were young adults are still figuring themselves out.
The film looks better shot than I imagined it would be. I wasn’t a fan of the constant blue saturation and needing to force a pop song into scenes. That all just felt unnecessary to the film and sometimes distracting. The pacing for most of the film was a bit average and could have helped to move along faster as it wasn’t a long movie. I did check my watch a few times even though it has a shorter than average run time. It could have helped to get to the meat of the narrative quicker in the beginning.
Before I fall looks like a well-made film. Even with this young cast there are great scenes displaying genuine teenage interactions. Unfortunately, the overall story is not original and lacks tension. In a film that is supposed to be a mystery drama it needs to hold the audience’s attention. It fails. Too much focus on the melodrama over these rich kids I can’t even force myself to care about them. The fact they are contemplating their life choices at such a young age seems silly to me. The overall tone felt off at times. The script and cinematography went for a serious tone and then at times it’s the complete opposite, filled with stereotype characters and pop music found in a teen comedy. Before I Fall doesn’t even come close to the films it’s trying to imitate. You are better off watching Groundhog Day to see a better film dealing with a time loop. If you want to settle with YA movies like Before I Fall, you might find enjoyment. At least it looks pretty.
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Running time: 1 hr 38 min
Director: Ry Russo-Young
Screenplay: Maria Maggenti
Cast: Zoey Deutch, Halston Sage, Logan Miller, Kian Lawley, Jennifer Beals and Elena Kampouris
Producers: Matthew Kaplan, Brian Robbins and Jonathan Shestack
Music: Adam Taylor
Cinematography: Michael Fimognari