Before I Fall (2017)

  • Time: 99 min
  • Genre: Drama | Mystery
  • Director: Ry Russo-Young
  • Cast: Zoey Deutch, Halston Sage, Jennifer Beals


What if you had only one day to change absolutely everything? Samantha Kingston has it all: the perfect friends, the perfect guy, and a seemingly perfect future. Then, everything changes. After one fateful night, Sam wakes up with no future at all. Trapped reliving the same day over and over she begins to question just how perfect her life really was. And as she begins to untangle the mystery of a life suddenly derailed, she must also unwind the secrets of the people closest to her, and discover the power of a single day to make a difference, not just in her own life, but in the lives of those around her – before she runs out of time for good.


  • A Groundhog Day for the YA set, Before I Fall finds heroine Sam Kingston (Zoey Deutch) reliving the same day over and over again, attempting to understand why she’s caught in a seemingly infinite loop.

    Adapted from Lauren Oliver’s successful novel, Sam’s day begins just before 7AM on February 12th, the day of her high school Cupid’s Day. It’s a day like any other, but also one that she has designated to be an important one for she plans on losing her virginity to boyfriend Rob (Kian Lawley) at a party later that night. Bright and attractive, she’s the most seemingly grounded of her friends, who form a quartet of self-proclaimed “bitches” who rule the school, but she is just as capable of being a mean girl as the rest of her friends.

    The girls – which include alpha female Lindsay (Halston Sage), shy but secretly smart Ally (Cynthy Wu), and party girl Elody (Medalion Rahimi) – are particularly merciless to Juliet Sykes (Elena Kampouris), a social outcast who used to be Lindsay’s childhood friend. Juliet’s appearance at the party is just another thing that goes wrong that night – Rob is too drunk to perform and all four girls are involved in a fatal car accident.

    Except somehow Sam wakes up the next morning, alive and well, but forced to experience the same day again and again. It doesn’t matter what she does to prevent the car accident or to make reparations with the people to which she’s been unkind, she still awakens to the 12th of February. It isn’t until she realises that her fate might be tied to one specific person that her Sisyphean situation might potentially come to an end.

    Before I Fall isn’t especially outstanding, but there is a great deal to appreciate about it. It conveys its message with simplicity, and it’s refreshing that Sam’s redemption isn’t tied into picking the right boy but rather one that’s empowering to the sisterhood. It’s a solid piece of work with accomplished contributions from its behind-the-scenes crew. Director Ry Russo-Young elicits fine performances from his young cast, and nurtures the back stories that screenwriter Maria Maggenti carefully establishes for the characters. Deutch is a warm and appealing performer, and her wide-ranging portrayal conveys the many dimensions of her character.

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  • “Maybe for you there’s a tomorrow.
    Maybe for you there’s 1,000 or 3,000 or 10.
    So much time you can bathe in it.
    So much time you can waste it.
    But for some of us,there’s only today.
    And what you do today matters.”


    Damn time loops. Bill Murray got stuck in one in “Groundhog Day” and could escape it by surrendering to love. And Tom Cruise had a less pleasant loop in “Edge of tomorrow”. He died every time during an alien invasion. Samantha (Zoey Deutch) faces the same problem. A night out with her friends Lindsay (Halston Sage), Ally (Cynthy Wu) and Elodie (Medalion Rahimi) ends in a disastrous way, after which she wakes up on “Cupid’s Day” over and over again. “Cupid’s Day” is that time of year when youngsters in school give each other roses to show their love.

    If these bosom friends would bury themselves with red roses, nobody would really be surprised. Because these narcissistic glamour tarts are living in an egocentric, artificial cocoon, where there’s only room for their stuck-up personalities. A life of perfection and complacency in which the other less-favored (both financially and in appearance) are criticized and mocked. These arrogant girls don’t even realize that they aren’t so popular just because of their looks, but largely thanks to their rich parents. This allows them to distinguish themselves from others materialistically. Driving a car of a somewhat more expensive class. Parading with Louis Vuitton handbags and exclusive clothes.

    “Before I fall” fails in two areas. First of all, it’s not very original. As I said before, it’s a kind of variation on “Groundhog day”. Except that the latter also had some comic situations. This film tackles the issue more seriously and has a much more important message on a moral level. And secondly, it’s highly predictable. Once you know what’s really going on and the facts are slowly revealed, you already know what will happen and what Samantha needs to do to break the cycle. You can even mumble the last sentence simultaneously with Samantha without a problem. As expected, Samantha walks through various emotional stages. From amazement and despair to fear and anger. Ending via a rebellious, fatalistic phase into getting the revelation where she suddenly realizes (although she has experienced that day already a thousands times) how she can solve the problem.

    It’s kind of weird. I’m not really a fan of chic flicks. But because of the cyclic aspect and the sophisticated analysis of the different personalities, this high school drama was still fascinating. The interpretations also surprised me in a way. You can’t say those girls are sympathetic, but gradually their intricate characters are revealed and you start to pity them. Especially Deutch delivered a brilliant performance. She looks like a fragile doll. A kind of “Holly Hobbie”-like Gillian Anderson. A lovely girl with an innocent appearance. You don’t see her as an arrogant, hateful and selfish person. The rest of the ladies are cut from the same cloth with their specific deep-rooted emotional issues. I hope they aren’t so vicious in reality.

    The ultimate life lesson in the end is quite obvious. It may be a bit of an exaggerated arthritis-causing waving with the index finger in a moralistic way, but ultimately it’s a truism. Perhaps some individuals in this world should focus more on the important things of life, instead of merely being busy with their own status. However, the “I” culture and social pressure are such that it’s almost impossible for young people to see this. Perhaps this film should be added to the school curriculum used nowadays. However, I can imagine that some of those like-minded girls are shocked when they see the denouement. Shocked about Samantha’s fate. But most probably they are happily giggling again the next day while bullying the lesser beauties. Oh well. But remember girls: “Karma is a bitch!”.

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