Paying to see 'Before I Fall' would be a complete waste of money. There are far more enjoyable choices at the movie theater.
Enjoyment Factor

‘Before I Fall’ Review: A Young Adult Novel That Should Have Never Been Turned Into A Movie

‘Before I Fall’ is a trope ridden slog that reminds us that not every young adult novel needs to be turned into a film. 


The story centers around Samantha Kingston (Zoey Deutch) and the circumstances surrounding her last day of high school, which also happens to be her last day on Earth. From what we know about Samantha, she appears to be living the typical life of any other teenager. She’s got a clique of friends that could easily be confused with the cast of Mean Girls. Her parents (Jennifer Beals and Nick Lea) try to understand her, but she’s bitchy towards them on a semi-consistent basis. So, of course, being that it’s the last day of school, someone decides to throw a hell of a kegger (I mean, what could go wrong).

Before I Fall


Kingston decided to go to the party so she can get some liquid courage as later that evening she’s supposed to meet up with her boyfriend and go “all the way” with him. So in the midst of this party, the artsy girl who this clique has picked on since the beginning of time decided to show up, and she has an agenda. The group and the girl come to blows, she runs off, and they drive off. During the drive home, a horrific accident happens, and Samantha wakes back up in her bed as if that day never occurred. Or did it?

What Worked

I do appreciate the efforts that Director Ry Russo-Young and screenwriter Maria Maggenti went to attempting to connect the teen experience and the ripple effect your actions can have on others.

At times the cinematography in the film was above average. For example, when Samantha had finally figured out what she need to do to make things right. They shot those moments from her point of view focusing on the true beauty that surrounded her and was present the entire time.

What Didn’t Work

The Director and Screenwriter appeared more than willing to tackle some weighty subject matter in this film but only glossed over those topics (ex. relationships, death, sisterhood).

This movie has every stereotypical character that you’ve seen in any number of teenage dramas. You’ve got the beautiful but misunderstood girl, her friend that’s terrible towards her, the friend who wants more (aka The ducky character), the awful boyfriend or girlfriend, and a friend who want them all to stop fighting. Nothing compelling just regurgitated stereotypes that detract from what could have been a decent film.

I realize that this is adapted from a Young Adult Novel, but the screenwriter has to understand that what works in book form, doesn’t necessarily work on screen. In the book, Before I Fall, the use of flashbacks, in the beginning, works because of the schema set up in the first chapter. In the film, we are left wondering what just happened and that derails any enjoyment the audience might have in the movie.

The performances were at best mediocre and something that I would have thought been appropriate for the ABC Family channel.

Final Thoughts

Seeing ‘Before I Fall’ this weekend would be a complete waste of your time and money. While the premise seems like a good one, the writing and directing of this film is what ultimately cause its downfall. Why waste your time with a movie that is only going to leave a bad taste in your mouth? Especially, when we have other films this weekend that certainly deserve your time.







Dewey Singleton - Film Critic
Dewey Singleton - Film Critic
I'm a member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association and have been doing reviews for many years. My views on film are often heard in markets such as Atlanta, Houston, and satellite radio. My wife often tolerates my obsession for all things film related and two sons are at an age now where 'Trolls' is way cooler than dad. Follow me on twitter @mrsingleton.
Paying to see 'Before I Fall' would be a complete waste of money. There are far more enjoyable choices at the movie theater. 'Before I Fall' Review: A Young Adult Novel That Should Have Never Been Turned Into A Movie