Before I Fall is a melodramatic Groundhog’s Day story about 4 unlikable teenage girls who die in a horrific car accident and one of them must relive the same day over and over again. Samantha (Deutch) goes through the same Cupid’s Day multiple time to change little things about her day but always wakes up in her bed at the end of the day. She then discovers the only way to end her loop is to sacrifice herself to save another troubled teen, and this is my problem with the film.
By the time Samantha discovers that Juliet dies in every scenario and that she needs to save her, she really doesn’t ‘try’ to save her. She always waits until the last 10 minutes before she dies when she had all day to convince her not to commit suicide. So when she finally jumps in front of the truck my first thought was “I don’t think you had to do that” but the movie ends so what do I know? The film has an underlying message about bullying and treating others with respect but it is a tired message. I would love to see someone make a smarter YA movie, but I’m pretty sure that Hollywood doesn’t think very highly of the 18-24 demographic. The film isn’t terrible, but it doesn’t take a risk to tell a deeper story.
Before I Fall is based on a book (I didn’t read, of course) however, it comes off as a melting pot of basic concepts that don’t go anywhere. The moral of this story is pick your friends wisely because if they are a bunch of turds then you get caught in the crossfire by association because while Samantha isn’t much of a ‘bully’ since she hasn’t denounced her friends’ behavior in 10 years, she is part of the problem. Zoey Deutch is charismatic and carries the film, but she doesn’t carry it far.