Before I Fall Parent Review
Yes, this is a reworked premise, but it does offer some insightful lessons about changing one's life as this character relives the events of the same day over and over again.
How would you live today, if you thought you would never have a tomorrow? That is the question Samantha Kingston (Zoey Deutch) is presented with one February 12.
Starting that morning, Sam (as she is called by her friends) had no idea this was the last day she would live. Instead it started out like most others in the high school senior’s relatively short life. Meeting up with her three girlfriends (Halston Sage, Cynthy Wu and Medalion Rahimi) in their upscale neighborhood, she then sets off for school. During the day there is a priority on hanging out with the right people, looking good and teasing those who don’t fit in.
The off-campus evening events follow a similar routine. Hair and makeup are done just right and the four-some head out to a house party. Upon arrival at the ruckus event where peers are swigging alcohol and couples are necking, the pack of pals hold together. Sam’s main focus is on meeting up with Rob (Kian Lawley) – the boy she has decided to lose her virginity with later that night.
However, one of their targets of abuse has the audacity to show up at the party. When Juliette (Elena Kampouris) angrily addresses Sam and her buddies, a mean-spirited scuffle ensues that includes profanity, slurs and public shaming. While Sam and chums come out on top, the unpleasant showdown derails their original plans. Heading home the gaggle of girls encounter the biggest surprise of all: a speeding truck that collides with their SUV. The accident appears to have taken Sam’s life… until she awakens in her own bed the next morning.
And that is when things get weird. Rather than being February 13, like it should be, she is stuck reliving the 12, again and again and again.
Yes, this is Ground Hog Day meets Mean Girls, but don’t let that reworked premise convince you there is nothing new here. Although these girls are anything but positive role models, as Sam repeatedly experiences the same events, the impact begins to add up. At first she is scared, then angry, then defiant. But eventually she recognizes she could change her world for the better. Finding empathy for people who frustrate her, and seeing her friends for who they truly are, she realizes her own motivations for bullying and choosing the popular crowd are rooted in selfish pride.
That’s a great lesson, although it does come wrapped in scenes of under-age drinking, cruel bullying, suicide and implied teen sexuality. For this movie to reach its full potential teen audiences will need to be active viewers who, ideally, take this opportunity to think and discuss the heavy and serious topics included in this script. Because none of us really get the chance to relive a day until we get things right, the lessons here might be worth learning before we fall back into our same old mistakes.Directed by Ry Russo-Young. Starring Zoey Deutch, Halston Sage, Jennifer Beals . Running time: 99 minutes. Theatrical release March 3, 2017. Updated March 10, 2017
Get details on profanity, sex and violence in Before I Fall here.
Before I Fall Parents Guide
What would you do with your day if you thought it was the last one you would live? Would knowing there was no tomorrow make you less concerned about consequences and hurting others? Or would you feel more worried about expressing your love for others and how you might be remembered after you died?
When Sam complains about the sameness of each day, and how nothing she does seems to make any difference, one friends replies that her musings describe real life. Does your existence sometimes feel mundane too? Even though most days of our lives are much like the others, things do change over time. How does this happen? Why is it hard to see gradual change?
How does this script use stereotypes to imply character traits? Would this tale be different if the main characters had not been wealthy girls? Would we have thought they were snobs if they had been from a middle-class or an underprivileged neighborhood? Would the story change if they had been male instead of female? Do you think that social status or gender have any bearing on a person’s tendency to be selfish, prideful or unkind? What do you think are the real motives behind selflessness, humility and kindness?