ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

"Before I Fall" Movie Review

Updated on May 26, 2019
popcollin profile image

Collin's been a movie critic since 2009. In real life, he works in marketing and is also a novelist ("Good Riddance" published in Oct 2015).

Before I Fall
Before I Fall | Source

Sure, it would be easy to sum up Before I Fall as a teen angst, weepie re-do of Groundhog Day, but it’s actually a pleasant surprise, having the legs to stand on its own. There are plenty of moments that were pulled straight from the pages of John Green or Nicholas Sparks’ latest (especially the ending), but by and large Before I Fall works. And it’s almost entirely because of Zoey Deutch.

Clearly if anyone is prime material to shepherd in the new batch of teen angst movies, it’s her. The by-product of one of the 80s’ more teen-angsty films (Some Kind of Wonderful star Lea Thompson and director Howard Deutch are her parents), she has emerged as one of the more promising and talented actresses among the millennial set. After years of lesser roles in lesser films, she finally gets a chance to anchor her own film, and she does it with a moving, emotional performance.

Deutch stars as Sam Kingston, a high school senior waking up on Cupid Day—the annual rite of passage (and popularity) where students buy roses for other students. She’s part of the school’s Mean Girls-esque clique, led by tormentor-in-chief Lindsay (Halston Sage), a bully who never runs out of people to verbally abuse. We see glimpses of Sam’s decency throughout the day, but it’s not enough to separate her from her pack by any stretch.

That night, after a parents-are-away kegger at a friend’s house, the girls get into a nasty car accident, and Sam wakes up back in bed; it’s Cupid Day all over again. She keeps re-living the day over and over, going through all seven of the Kubler-Ross stages as she does. After confusion and denial comes anger, bargaining, depression, and finally acceptance of what she needs to do to break the cycle. It’s a bit predictable to be sure, but Deutch makes the most of it, sinking her teeth into the role and rising above the rather rote story. We all know Sam is on the track to becoming a better person, but Deutch sells it with a seemingly effortless performance.

Also helping is up-and-coming director Ry Russo-Young (Nobody Walks), who clearly isn’t content to just the pretty faces and high school stereotypes rule the day. Working from a script by Maria Maggenti (Monte Carlo), who adapted it from Lauren Oliver’s hit YA novel, Russo-Young takes time to let especially poignant moments breathe, which not only gives Deutch a chance to shine but also helps make Before I Fall an ultimately charming and sweet movie that you can’t help but get sucked in by.

The one issue, as fans of the book are well-aware, is the ending, which is foreshadowed almost from the outset (note the title, if nothing else) but certainly becomes crystal clear about halfway through. And since we all know what’s coming, its emotional impact is undercut. It also doesn’t stand up very well to post-movie discussion; too many “yeah, but” thoughts will creep in.

That being said, no one is going in thinking this is a feel-good Disney movie, and if the audience can go through its own Kubler-Ross cycle (ending with acceptance), Before I Fall emerges as a better-than-average teen flick with an outstanding performance from a far-above-average new star.


3.5/5 stars

'Before I Fall' trailer


This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)