Millennials deserve better than Before I Fall
Film | by Jorge Ignacio Castillo
Before I Fall
It would be too easy to dismiss the teenage drama Before I Fall as a Groundhog Day knock-off. It’s much more insidious than that. Let’s break it down:
IT COPIES PHIL CONNORS’ JOURNEY BEAT FOR BEAT…: The protagonist of Before I Fall is Samantha (Zoey Deutch, Why Him). Sam is not a bad person per se, but she is an active member of a mean girls clique (as seen in Heathers and many times after that). The evening she is supposed to lose her virginity, Sam gets into a car accident. She doesn’t die, but finds herself reliving the same day, over and over. Bewilderment ensues, followed by despair, despondency, nihilism and a self-improvement mad dash. Heck, the day in question is nicknamed “Cupid Day”.
…BUT DUMBS IT DOWN: If you’ve never seen Groundhog Day or lack the intelligence to decipher the rules by yourself, don’t worry! Samantha’s omnipresent voiceover explains everything we are already watching on the screen. Either overzealous execs have no faith in the audience or the target audience is really that obtuse.
LET’S TALK ABOUT OUR FEELINGS: It isn’t just the stuff that happens that gets explained to death. Every emotion is vocalized, even the most obvious ones. I don’t know if this is a Millennial thing (I’m a Gen-Xer: we bury emotions in sarcasm) or it’s just to protect the pretty people on screen from having to act.
THE DIALOGUE IS EAR-SCRATCHING: After about the hundredth heart-to-heart conversation, a mean girl says, “somebody ate Oprah for breakfast”. Ugh. It makes me appreciate The Edge of Seventeen.
RICH PEOPLE’S PROBLEMS: Before I Fall is supposed to tackle run-of-the-mill teenage issues, but there is nothing average about these kids. It’s not only their looks — they all live in big suburban homes and drive this year’s cars. Hard to empathize with the one per cent.
THE FILM CELEBRATES DIVERSITY… TO A DEGREE: I was two seconds away from screaming at the screen because Before I Fall only had white people when an Asian character showed up. In fairness, the film covers all of the bases, but here’s the catch: minorities only have supporting roles. On top of that, everyone is conventionally attractive. Even the obligatory outcast is a shower away from becoming a hottie.
AND IN CONCLUSION: You know what’s a good movie? Groundhog Day. Instead of paying to see this garbage, why not re-watch a classic? There are worse experiences to repeat. Trust me.