Adapted from Lauren Oliver’s novel under the same name, “Before I Fall” follows the life of high school student Samantha Kingston in a “Groundhog Day”- like time loop.
Beyond the superficial surface, her life isn’t as ideal. Her clique, led by top-dog Lindsay (Halston Sage), are the school’s elite mean girls who make life miserable for classmates who don’t live up to their status.
This becomes apparent when the mean-girl quartet are seen bullying social-outcast Juliet Sykes (Elena Kampouris) – having sent her a rose with a note reading “Maybe next year, but probably not,” on their school’s annual “Cupid Day”.
Though, events take a turn for the worst at a party held by a childhood friend named Kent McFuller (Logan Miller). The kegger is crashed by Juliet, who gets into a fight with Lindsay and her faithful followers. This ends with Juliet running out drenched in alcohol and the girls leave the party soon after.
But while driving home, Lindsay’s SUV hits some sort of obstacle in the road that causes the car to flip and seemingly kills everyone inside.
As with the time-loop-story tradition, Sam wakes up in her bed only to discover that it’s once again Feb. 12 – Cupid Day. The cycle repeats itself over and over again no matter what the distraught teenager does.
As time repeats itself, Sam begins to question how perfect her life really is, how her choices have impacted those around her and if this is the kind of person she wants to be remembered for.
Ry Russo-Young, the movie’s director, described the particular age that the story takes place in Sam’s life as “a time of intensity and drama…It’s a moment when your peer relationships feel like life or death.” Russo-Young goes on to explain that she feels that it’s at a period in a teen’s life when they are more connected to what it means to be alive than any other.
“Before I Fall” addresses serious topics like suicide, divorce, bullying and sex, while bringing to the light something that young minds might not fully understand – that their choices can have an impact on more than just themselves.
The film’s targeted viewership appears to be a younger audience (or just those young at heart). The cast is filled with up-and-coming talents such as Deutch and Sage, as well as YouTube personalities with large – and ever growing – followership like Lawley (also known as superkian13).
“Before I Fall” preaches selflessness and generosity while giving the audience a feeling of familiarity, especially for those on the younger side of the spectrum in terms of some of the characters’ struggles with persecution.
The film overall is a heartfelt story of self-reflection and humanity, giving viewers the chance to question how they, too are choosing to live their lives.