By: Nick Askam
I think this movie shows why Zoey Deutch can be a star. She shows off a full range of emotions in a genre where there’s honestly not a lot being shown normally. It’s refreshing to see a young star take over the film and prove that she’s worth paying attention to. From Everybody Wants Some!! to Why Him? to Before I Fall, Deutch developed a strong resume in unlikely films.
It’s not often that I sit through a YA film and don’t get that angry with the plot. This movie has its parts that annoy and frustrate me, but overall, I did enjoy it more than I thought I would. This is becoming the norm for Deutch movies as I did not expect to like Why Him? in the slightest. Before I Fall matches one of the rising stars in Hollywood with a competent director that showed that the genre can be more than what people stereotype it to be.
My first impression of this film was that it used a Grimes song and I was scared that it was going to be terrible. I was shaking because I didn’t want to see this movie be the worst thing that it was going to be. Then, I noticed the Ry Russo-Young used a bluer color palette instead of the bright blue/ orange YA color palette. I was also surprised by how real it felt. It felt like a rich kids’ high school. I was blown away immediately.
Since I had realized that this movie was different, I started viewing it differently. I felt there was a more nuanced approach in the way things would be shown in the film. The ominous foreshadowing in one of the first party scenes was probably my favorite part of the film. Its use of red coloring in a mostly blue/ black film made the color pop. The soundtracks subtle shifts made this film feel different. I was impressed from that moment on.
Before I Fall is about a girl who relives the same day repeatedly and can’t figure out why. I wouldn’t call it high school female Groundhog Day because I think there are many differences but that’s the concept anyways. Sam (Zoey Deutch) has it all, so she must understand why all of this is happening and solve the mystery. She has to survive this high school day with her friends Lindsay (Halston Sage), Ally (Cynthy Wu), and Elody (Medalion Raimi). There’s other pieces involved in this puzzle from the guy who’s madly in love with her (Logan Miller), her boyfriend (Kian Lawley), and the girl people bully, Juliet (Elena Kampouris).
Deutch carries this film and the background actors are great, too. It’s difficult to fully act with such a short amount of time. For instance, Russo mentioned that most of the wakeup scenes were filmed all at once. This is incredibly challenging for actors to have so many moods in such a short amount of time. The emotion on Deutch’s face proves otherwise as she effortlessly commands the right emotion to fit the scene. In all the high school moments, it would be easy to break character, but none of the actors do. The composure to understand and fit these pieces together is what made this movie way better than average.
There were some plot points that I disagreed with, but I thought they fit with the genre that is constantly picked in. I wish there were some stereotypical teen moments that were taken out, but I don’t know what I would do if I had to live the day over again and again. I would probably do something weird as well. Sometimes, I wish we knew a little more about Deutch’s character earlier into the film. I think that might be a personal choice, though.
Overall, give this movie a chance. It’s in a genre that’s always picked on and this movie tries to break the mold. Yes, it follows some of the YA tropes, but it’s superior to most all of them from this time. Deutch, Sage, Lawley, Wu, and Rahimi surprise and excite in this newest YA movie that feels like it’s an actual story rather than some petty drama.