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"Before I Fall" 2017 Movie Review
Movie Review: Before I Fall
Directed by: Ry Russo-Young
Written by: Maria Maggenti
Story by: Lauren Oliver
Genre: Drama, Mystery, fantasy
Release date: March 3, 2017
My Rating: 4.5/10
Verdict: Groundhog day for teens
Review (spoiler free):
I have a confession to make. I still haven't seen Groundhog day. I'm not sure exactly why, but it might have something to do with my very long list of movies. It's so hard watching that movie when new ones come out and grab my attention.
I will watch it one day.
On the bright side, I don't have to compare this movie to groundhog day (although a nagging suspicion tells me that this one is meh compared to it). I could compare this to Edge of Tomorrow. But that's a terrible comparison. That movie was scifi, alien, and it was amazing. So it's a bad idea to compare the two, because the already low rating will go even lower.
The saddest part is that this movie, even on it's own, did not deliver. And it had a whole lot to do with the ending. It was meaningless, and I'll explain why in the spoiler section.
The movie starts with Samantha basically being her normal self, ignoring her family, getting into a group of friends who all look like mean girls, going to popular parties, etc. You get the feel of it from the trailer.
From the beginning, I knew that the movie would explore Samanthas relationship with her family (neglect on her part), her friends (seem like backstabbers), her boyfriend (he's not the keeper kind), and her old friend (he's cute but naggy/clingy).
When she dies on the first day, which starts the loop, we see how she handles the following loops. And I liked that concept. It really showed how people can behave when they know there is little consequence. She does everything from dressing inappropriately, hitting on a teacher, doing really rude things to her parents and sister, destroying her friendship with her close friends by pointing out what I already knew going in, breaking up with boyfriend, and other things that her mother disapproves of (but she never gets punished because the day starts over again). I liked this theme because it was true. If you tried your best to fix everything, and nothing changed, wouldn't you be pissed enough to do bad things, because you could and there was zero responsibility? I know I would. Ha.
The biggest story here is really about the ending. Samantha's loop of the day doesn't magically end when she treats people better, or family, or learns life lessons. Really, it's about a girl they bullied, and how she needs to save her or whatever to end the loop.
And they mess up here to an astounding level. I knew how it was going to end before I saw the movie (I read the book summary - I have a tendency to do this), so I was already disappointed, but I figured I might as well watch it since it was out and I was suddenly in the mood.
And boy, do they miss the mark with this ending. Not only did I have zero cares about the bullied girl (I get that getting bullied can have mental consequences, but come on, she ends up attacking the mean girls and basically brings it on herself). But yeah, after she corners herself with the mean girls, she takes off and decides it's high time to end her life.
I guess this is a good topic for teens these days, what with suicide rates and all, but nobody learns their lessons. And we don't even deal with the girl enough to feel sympathetic to her situation. It's less about the girl committing suicide, and more about Samantha saving her life.
Conclusion (spoiler free):
This movie could have had a good life lesson, and while it did have some, most of the important stuff missed the mark. While she works her ass off to right all wrongs, she doesn't get what she deserves. Really, I thought the ending was a slap in the face.
Watch if you like teen movies with some semblance of message, but don't get your hopes up.
Samantha and friends:
This movie deals in a lot of "ships", but a big part of it is friendship.
Family: parent's are pretty cool, but her littler sister was adorable. I felt sorry when she would get neglected, and felt even more sorry near the end of the movie for her. I got the feeling that the movie, despite it's good intentions, forgot the importance of family in the big scheme of things. I can't spoil here........
Romance: Good message on protection and unwanted pregnancies, but didn't really like the love interest. He's one of those guys that clings to the old you from ages ago and won't stop bothering you about it. It's not cute, it's annoying, and he needs to move on. But whatever, her boyfriend isn't any better, so I guess she doesn't have enough time for better options.
Her friends: They had their fun side, but in all honesty, while watching them, I felt an instinctual defensiveness when they came into the picture. They looked like the kind of people who you had to agree with completely to get along. When you got along, everything was great. When you did something they didn't like, all hell broke loose. They were all wearing these fake masks and pretending that life was great, and those kinds of people I'm always weary of. Extra fake = extra defensive.
There is no real lesson learned here. Explained in detail in spoiler section.
My favorite part of a review.
Ok so let's go with the family/friends part first.
Family: Her sister loses a sister, and her parent's lose a daughter. For really... no reason. I say this with all honesty. I'm not trying to be mean to the bullied girl, but I believe in choosing ones own life. Even if she went on to regret it later, it was her life to keep or take. Samantha meddled, and in turn ruined her family's life. We like to talk about selfishness of people who commit suicide, but can we look at the selfishness of ourselves? Or Samantha, in this case? She ended her life when she didn't even want to. She gave her life to a stranger, even when the stranger seemed more than determined to end her life, and in turn threw her family into chaos. It just didn't settle well for me.
Friends: In one of her instances of that day, she decides to basically bring to light all the issues of their friendship. This confirmed my belief that these girls were fake, and messed up, and at the same time, it made them more human. I really liked this version of that day. Because there were no more lies, no more scheming and fakery. It would force them to reflect on their obvious issues.
But that day ends. And in the final day, before the loop ends, she decides to do the exact opposite: she cuddles up to her fake friends and makes niceties with them for them to remember her by. I thought this was a stupid end. It was a joke compared to what they could have done with the previous version of breaking down and screaming out all their friendship issues. This one just bottled up all the issues that her friends still had, put a bowtie on it, and put it to rest. As in, she's dead now, so nothings going to get resolved. They will mourn her death, but continue to be as they were. I don't really see them changing much.
My biggest issue:
As stated, she kills herself in favor of a person less willing to live. The plot of the movie forced her to act this way, and it was sinister. Basically, the only way to break the cycle is to give up her life. That's it. To die a "noble" death. What kind of message does this give to viewers? To go out and die for people who want to kill themselves? NO, that's a terrible message. And her death was not noble. I don't buy it. It was just an escape from the loop of a day. Because a loop of one day, eventually, gets boring no matter how much fun you have.
This topic does delve into the controversy of suicide. Did you know that suicide is illegal? That if you even mention that you've been thinking of killing yourself to a doctor, that you will very quickly find yourself in a mental hospital with your hands tied to prevent self harm? That you LITERALLY have no right to take your own life. I'm pretty sure this whole thing started with religion (you go to hell if you kill yourself, your life is not your own to take but Gods, etc). And if you couldn't tell, I was never a partaker of this side. Heck, I'm FOR assisted suicide.
I'm perfectly fine with trying to help these people at first (scientific stats show that most people who want to commit suicide at first regret it later when they're stopped), but if these people persist in wanting to end their life no matter how much we help them, who are we to stop them? What right do we have to stop someone from doing something to their body, no matter how harmful? We call them selfish for wanting to end their life, but are we not selfish, and even pathetically self-righteous, to stop them because of our own selfishness? See, we're all selfish, the only difference here is, we're meddling in their life while they were minding their own business.
Yes, we should absolutely help these people when they seem to need it (a lot of suicide attempts that fail are a sign of asking for help), but don't think for a second that I won't be repulsed by the idea of forcing someone to live "because life is so great". That just makes me sick by how sinister it sounds and feels. Because we find joy in living does not mean everyone does.
That's just my take on it. I'm heavily on the side of "pro-choice" when it comes to an individual. While people can convince me to soften that stance, I don't think I'll ever give up that stance completely. I value an individuals autonomy above all else.
Okay, enough with this controversial topic...heh....I hope I didn't offend anyone. :/
I guess to sum it up, I was really disappointed with the ending because nobody actually learned a lesson. She breaks up with her boyfriend in favor of an old friend (giving him extreme hope then whisking it away by ending her life -- that's a rather mean move in my mind), sucking up to her friends even though there are problems -- just for the sake of being remembered as good before she dies, etc. I guess the only good thing she did was right her relationship with her family before she died. But even here she messes up, because why is she ending her life???? Why does her life matter less than the girl who wants to end hers? why should she give hers up for that girl, when technically, she isn't even the one at fault, it's her friend that caused this mess to begin with. Why doesn't her friend die instead?
This whole thing was a really twisted version of virtue signaling.
Even though I liked the theme of suicide in teens, bullying, and other teen drama, it was dealt with in a silly manner and ended on that terrible note.
If you still want to watch it after reading all that, go for it. You might enjoy it more than me, or hate it more than me because it's not a happy ending or same/other reasons. I don't mind sad endings, but when it's done badly..it's done badly!
I mean, from the perspective of Samantha, she can only solve problems by ending her life. The whole point of this movie is to deal with bullying and suicide, and yet we have a main character that deals with life's problems by ending her life.
If that isn't a slap in the face, I don't know what it.
Thanks and take care!
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