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Based on Lauren Oliver's apparently popular YA novel, Before I Fall takes the premise of Groundhog Day, adds Mean Girls and teen angst, removes any sense of subtlety or wit, and serves up the most financially successful independent film of 2017.

It's Cupid Day at one of those American movie high schools where the teenage students are 25-year-old hipsters whose parents own enormous houses. Sam is the most likeable of the Mean Girl Clique, and she's planning to lose her virginity to her douchebag of a boyfriend after the Big Party that night. Along the way, the girls receive Valentine roses, send texts, and bully the supposedly psycho school outsider.

The big night is afoot.

It's marked for tragedy.

Then Sam begins reliving it, over and over, with memories intact. She realizes she has something to fix, but she, like, just doesn't know how. And what role does that school outsider play?

The actors are talented, if too old for their roles, and the movie, filmed around Squamish and Vancouver, looks good. Young director Ry Russo-Young understands how to shoot the teen bonding moments. The script, alas, adapted by Maria Maggenti, overflows with self-serious glop and rings with hammer-to-the-head moralizing. Before I Fall has its moments-- including one intriguing twist. For the most part, however, we have a sporadically entertaining PG-14 After-School Special, Frankenstein-stitched together from the corpses of superior films.


Zoey Deutch as Samantha Kingston
Halston Sage as Lindsay Edgecomb
Cynthy Wu as Ally Harris
Medalion Rahimi as Elody
Logan Miller as Kent McFuller
Kian Lawley as Rob Cokran
Elena Kampouris as Juliet Sykes
Erica Tremblay as Izzy Kingston
Liv Hewson as Anna Cartulo
Diego Boneta as Mr. Daimler
Jennifer Beals as Julie Kingston
Nicholas Lea as Dan Kingston

290 words

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