If you’re like me, watching your favorite book become a movie is either the cringiest experience in the world or the most fascinating. Sometimes, movie-makers miss the mark and leave readers questioning whether we even read the right book. However, that is not the case with “Before I Fall.”
The movie, based on the book of the same name by Lauren Oliver, came to the big screen on March 3 of this year. It tells the story of Samantha Kingston (Zoey Deutch) who is fated to live the same day over and over again after an accident that she presumes left her dead. Samantha is part of a “mean girls” type clique that spends their day making everyone else’s just a little worse, thinking their popularity can let them get away with anything. As Sam lives her last day over and over, she sees how her actions had serious consequences for those around her.
The main storyline circles the idea that all actions have consequences. Sam goes from an entitled, bratty and extremely rude character to one who ends up doing the final good deed. It’s only then that she finds peace in herself and realizes what her true purpose was after all. In the process of understanding this purpose, she goes through the different stages of grief. She lashes out at her friends and parents, she hooks up with a teacher, she tries to bargain her safety, and she finds herself in several situations that “the old her” would have never done.
One of the biggest insights we receive from this story is that Sam wasn’t trying to hurt anybody — she simply didn’t understand that her actions affect other people. She isn’t the casual manipulative mean girl; she thinks she’s just being funny. As the story progresses, we can really see the change in her character, as the novel is written from her point of view. As she realizes that the smallest actions have terrible consequences — like stealing a parking spot — she begins to change her actions one by one to benefit those around her.
The movie carries a similar moral, yet it seems to portray Sam in a better light. Her inner monologue in the novel seemed to reveal that she felt bad almost immediately, while readers had to base their opinions only on dialogue for other characters. The book introduced specific tropes to relay message, such as clothing and the time of day. The film however, got rid of the some of these important symbols of their friendship. The overall essence of the friendship was seen, but the connection and bond wasn’t as emphasized as the novel.
Unlike a majority of book series, this film stuck to the script and stayed similar to its roots for the most part. The movie leads audiences with a more dramatic, suspenseful feel while the book tends to give readers details as they occur. As the movie moves through the thriller genre, it doesn’t reveal some key facts as quickly as the book does, leaving the audience with mystery. The poignant story leaves everyone who hears it with an inspirational feeling — like there really is no tomorrow for us as well. These thoughts set to eerie music, smashing dialogue, and the party life of a Connecticut teen sets the scene for this amazing movie.
Although the film is a thriller, the main idea of the story stays the same. It’s a heart-rending story that forces the audience to reflect on their own lives and how they treat everyone around them. To fans of the novel: I suggest you settle down on your sofa and watch this harrowing film as soon as you can!