How do you feel about movies centered around a looping day? Personally, I love them and wish they’d come out with more. Of course, Groundhog Day started the fad, and that may still be the best use of it I’ve ever seen, but every movie has its own special qualities. Before I Fall is the newest movie to feature living the same day on repeat, but I’m not entirely sure it does the best job at making it its own thing. Because I’ve seen so many of them, I can pick out my favorites, as well as what distinguishes them apart. While this does have something like that, I’m not sure I’m in love with it.
The story centers on Samantha Kingston (Zoey Deutch), who after experiencing a traumatic car accident, lives the same day on repeat until she can figure out why, and ultimately, how to stop it. Each day she wakes up on the same day, she learns something new about herself, her closest friends, and a couple of people in school she calls strange without batting an eye. Who are these people, and what is their purpose in all of this?
Here is the main difference between Before I Fall and other movies like it – it’s about a bunch of irresponsible teenage girls. So, I believe the biggest change in venue is the overall young adult feeling. That’s more of a tone and theme than anything else because the way they handled the action concept of repeating the days is mostly seen before in other movies. I actually called what was going to happen based off of other movies like it every step of the way, which doesn’t really help its originality score.
So, I guess it’s time to break things down now. Let’s go!
PEOPLE SCORE – 6/10
Acting – 1|Characters – 1|Casting – 1|Importance – 1|Chemistry – 2
The people score isn’t horrible, but it also isn’t the best either. I mean, everyone seemed to work really, really well together, but at the same time, no one really blew me away with their ability to act. The characters are mostly forgettable, literally any girl could’ve been cast to play in these roles, and no one really holds a very important role. I mean, they just don’t. They are basically mean girls. I guess in a way, the mean girls (as a group) add to the plot, but not individually.
WRITING SCORE – 7/10
Dialogue – 1|Balanced – 2|Story – 2|Originality – 0|Interesting – 2
Again, the writing wasn’t horrible, it just wasn’t the best. Its biggest problem is found in its originality, which there just wasn’t any originality. If you read what I said earlier, I said most of these day loop movies have something unique about them, and this one didn’t. Other than the main characters being bratty mean girls, and that isn’t enough. But, I do love these types of movies, which is why I gave the interesting score a perfect score. The story was also pretty important, as it dealt with consequences of bullying. That was evidently clear. It’s also a pretty balanced film in general. I mean, you see a lot of the same things all the time, but you’re following the movie exactly as you should. Now, the dialogue was entirely forgettable, but hey.
BTS SCORE – 7/10
Visuals – 1|Directing – 2|Editing – 1|Advertisement – 2|Music – 1
The stuff going on behind-the-scenes also wasn’t horrible. Whenever you have a looping movie like this, you need good direction. How else are you going to convince the audience that it is, in fact, the same day looping? The main character can change every time, but the other characters must remain the same every time, and they did that here. I do consider it as-advertised. Everything else just goes by unnoticed, though. The visuals were just okay. The poster has more beautiful visuals than the movie. There’s nothing spectacular with the editing, and the music doesn’t stand out.
NARRATIVE ARC SCORE – 8/10
Introduction – 2|Inciting Incident – 2|Obstacles – 2|Climax – 2|Falling Action – 0
This was almost a perfect narrative arc. As with all looping films, the movie starts off on the first day and shows us the “standard” version of the day and everyone involved. The inciting incident occurs at the time of the first loop. The obstacles are every time she does something wrong and loops again. The climax is ultimately when she figures everything out, of course. The falling action is once again, just an idea, but you don’t know for sure what the new norm is, so I don’t really consider this to actually have any falling action.
ENTERTAINMENT SCORE – 4/10
Rewatchability – 1|Fun – 2|Impulse/Buy – 0|Impusle/Talk – 0|Sucks Audience IN – 1
How about how entertaining it is? Well, it’s entertaining enough to kill the time, but that’s about it. I consider it rewatchable if I’m flipping through channels and happen to see it starting. I do think looper movies like this are fun and can sometimes suck you in, but I’m not going to buy it, nor do I really care to own it or talk about it. It is what it is, you know?
TOTAL SPECIAL – 40/50
Drama – 10|Mystery – 5|Groundhog Day – 5|Young Adult/Teen – 10|Halfway Decent – 10
Finally, we’re onto the specialty questions that I wrote before watching the thing. First off, IMDb lists this as a drama and a mystery – so how are those things? Personally, I think the drama is decent enough, but the mystery wasn’t as strong. I basically called everything that was going to happen, so that means this mystery was predictable. Next is obviously the question regarding where this sits as a looping movie like Groundhog Day. Personally, I’m sure I’d list it in conversation, but other movies like Groundhog Day, ARQ, Edge of Tomorrow and Source Code will probably be spoken about first. It also looked like a young adult/teen movie, and that’s exactly what it is. Is it halfway decent? I know I complain about a lot, but I still consider this a movie that achieved what it was going after, and whenever that occurs, I say it’s halfway decent.