Before I Fall, Cynthy Wu, Elena Kampouris, Film review, Halston Sage, Jennifer Beals, Kian Lawley, Lauren Oliver, Liv Hewson, Logan Miller, Maria Maggenti, Medalion Rahimi, Nicholas Lea, Ry Russo-Young, YA novel, Zoey Deutch
It’s Cupid Day and high school senior, Samantha (Zoey Deutch) is getting ready to celebrate it in a life-changing way with her boyfriend, Rob (Kian Lawley). She wakes up like she does everyday – sassy and mean to her parents (Nicholas Lea and Jennifer Beals) and little sister (Erica Tremblay). She is picked up for school by her best friend Lindsay (Halston Sage). Ally (Cynthy Wu) and Elody (Medalion Rahimi) complete their inseparable foursome.
Though technically a school day, classes are nevertheless interrupted by special “cupids” distributing long-stemmed roses to the girls and boys from their boy/girlfriends and assorted admirers, which can be a special kind of Hell for those less popular.
We soon find out that, behind their pretty faces and friendly demeanour, the popular foursome are not much more than a group of mean girls. They take immense joy in bullying and terrorising the class loner, Juliet (Elena Kampouris) and deliberately ruin the relationship between Anna (Liv Hewson) and her girlfriend. When Sam receives a surprise rose from Kent (Logan Miller) who is hosting a Cupid Day party that night, she rejects his attention as well.Sam’s perfect life begins to fall apart at the party when things don’t go according to plan with Rob and Juliet turns up unexpectedly, triggering a series of what can only be described as unfortunate events.
After the girls get into a car accident, Sam wakes up the next day, safely tucked up in her own bed, only to realise she is reliving her fateful Cupid Day. But to everyone else, they are living that day for the first time. At first thinking her memories are only a bad dream, she quickly realises she is trapped in an endless loop. No matter what she does during the day to change her fate, some always ends up dead.
Based on a novel by Lauren Oliver (adapted by Maria Maggenti), Before I Fall has been described as Mean-Girls-Meets-Groundhog-Day. Over the course of six days, we follow Sam’s development – from the “this is only a bad dream” to “I need to change the outcome of this day” to her final realisation that her fate cannot be changed but it may still be within her power to change someone else’s life. Although we never get an explanation as to why she is the only one reliving this day despite her three friends being with her almost constantly throughout the day, it is enough to see how the actions, or inactions, of a single person can affect those around her.
Before I Fall boasts a strong and well-balanced supporting cast. There is never any confusion as to what is happening despite the seemingly repetitive nature of the story. Through the course of each repeated day, a little more is revealed of each person enough to allow the audience to become more invested and understanding of each character’s mindset and their backstory. And at the end of the movie, hopefully we will all think about how our words and behaviour affect others.
Before I Fall is directed by Ry Russo-Young and is now showing across Australia.