February 12 is just another day in Sam's charmed life, until it turns out to be her last. Stuck reliving her last day over and over, Sam untangles the mystery around her death and discovers everything she's losing.
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Tyler's crazy in love with his perfect girlfriend Ali, but when a big fight makes him and Ali break up, he lands in the arms of sexy out-of-towner Holly who shows him a night he's gonna ... See full summary »
Taylor John Smith
What if you had only one day to change absolutely everything? Samantha Kingston has it all: the perfect friends, the perfect guy, and a seemingly perfect future. Then, everything changes. After one fateful night, Sam wakes up with no future at all. Trapped reliving the same day over and over she begins to question just how perfect her life really was. And as she begins to untangle the mystery of a life suddenly derailed, she must also unwind the secrets of the people closest to her, and discover the power of a single day to make a difference, not just in her own life, but in the lives of those around her - before she runs out of time for good.
During the trailer of the film and early in the film, Sam is about to have a class on Sisyphus. Those familiar with the myth will know this refers to Sisyphus, who was forced by the god to push a massive boulder up a hill endlessly for eternity. Coinciding well with Sam's story, Sam struggles with the task of the futility of being unable to change her fate until she comes to an epiphany, similar to Sisyphus. See more »
When Lindsay picks up Sam for the first time, the exhaust on the car indicated that the engine was cold. Even if she lived close by, after only a minute the water vapor coming out of the tail pipe is not visible. On subsequent pickups, there are no vapor clouds coming from the tailpipe, indicating the engine and exhaust system was at least moderately warm. See more »
Maybe for you there's a tomorrow. Maybe for *you*, there's 1,000 or 3,000, or 10... So much time, you can bathe in it. So much time, you can waste it. But for some of us, there's only today, and what you do today matters - in the moment, and maybe into infinity... But I didn't know any of that... Until right before I fell.
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I once heard that the studio brass at Columbia Pictures were initially hesitant on Groundhog Day (1993) because they thought the repetitive nature of the film's script would be too boring for mainstream audiences. While their initial trepidation ultimately proved false, Before I Fall, the latest film to add its own particular funk on the Groundhog formula, is digital proof that their fears were well founded. In fact, watching this YA rip-off of a good idea, felt like I was going through the lead's feeble little character arc in reverse: hopeful optimism makes way to exhaustion, which fades to anger then top it all off with big, fat helping of what the f**k just happened? This tepid little story comes courtesy of author Lauren Oliver's well received novel of the same name. Sam (Deutch), a popular Washington State high schooler, is forced to repeat the same day over and over again in a never-ending cycle of lunchroom gossip and pre-coital stressing. Why; well much like the aforementioned Groundhog Day no concrete reason is ever given; though that film was so artfully done, one needs hardly to ask. Here however, the movie begs that very question perhaps to distract from its stifling dreariness. "Why is this happening to me and not to you?" Sam asks her vapid friend, stone-faced and blunt.
Good question Sam, though a better one might be why is this movie happening at all? It's clear within the first references to Sisyphus and the Butterfly Effect that this movie has no desire to tread new narrative ground. The progression of the story and its themes are beyond predictable and the characters are as safe as a bouncy castle made out of Nerf. The minutia that repeats and repeats is at best superficial and at worst annoying, accompanied by wraithlike hipster music that drones on and on. I mean for goodness sake even Edge of Tomorrow (2014) had the good sense to fill in its lack of existential exploration with creative high-concepts. This movie is just happy convincing you that rich high school girls still go out of their way to publicly taunt their less popular counterparts.
One thing that Groundhog Day did well that Before I Fall seems to purposely be messing up is any semblance of a character change. While Bill Murray's Phil changed from a solipsistic a**hat to a kindly community angel, Sam turns her interment into a group therapy session where she's constantly asking if she's a good person. She hears stories about herself she seems to have forgotten; one dozy little nugget is even provided by a stereotypically sweet admirer (Miller) whose sole purpose is to remind her she has romantic options. Then of course there's the phrase "Be the Person You Are" that's literally written on a wall as if proclaiming proudly: Nothing. Interesting. Will. Happen.
The good news is the movie at least tries to distract you with a marginally more interesting subplot involving artsy outcast Juliet (Kampouris) and head mean girl Lindsay (Sage). Details of the group dynamic are parceled out little by little to force engagement between the film and its audience. This can be seen as a net positive for those who don't mind all the witless melodrama that clumsily un-spools. Of course if you're far gone as I was, these little reveals do nothing but pad the run time of what is already an unpleasant little trudge through dullsville.
To stymie any impression that Sam is just as shallow as her friends, we're made aware of her inner-monologue which crackles with empty platitudes and fortune cookie wisdom in an attempt to sound sincere. "Maybe you can afford to wait. Maybe for you there's a tomorrow but for me there is only today." She speaks of course with misplaced intensity and sounds like a lissome pre-teen who's read one too many Sylvia Plaith poems. Yet behind all that self-seriousness is a total lack of faith. Absolutely nothing in this film is given shades or subtlety but rather falls out of the film like ungainly pitched garbage.
What you end up with in Before I Fall's case is a film that marries its inherently un-cinematic concept to a story without depth, understanding or wit. Furthermore it latches itself onto boring, vacuous characters whose supposed faults ensure the stakes are lower than the price of a Lifestyle condom. If the message of this film boils down to "make the most of today," then do yourself a favor and avoid this tedium at all costs.
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