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Watch This Review

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Movie Review

Friday morning. February 12th. 6:50 a.m.

The day starts out like many before it. The alarm rings, and 17-year-old Samantha drags herself out of bed, slips into something cute-but-skimpy, then eye-rolls her way past her family members before heading out the door as quickly as possible. And there at the curb, with an appropriately warmed up SUV, is her hip-cocked bestie Lindsay, always ready to blow kisses and trade quick 'n' witty barbs.

From there it's on to pick up the other members of their mean-girl quartet: slightly shy but secretly brainy Ally, and nearly alcoholic party girl Elody. Together they comprise the chick clique at Pacific Northwest High.

That's the way it is, and that's the way it's meant to be.

But there's a slight variation to the norm today, though. It's Cupid Day for one thing. And tonight is the night when Sam has determined she'll lose her virginity to her hot boyfriend, Rob. All the girls know about it. And they're all over Sam, poking at her with sexy sarcasm, catty quips and proffered condoms.

Friday night. February 12th. 9:00 p.m.

The night starts out like many before it. Sam and the girls have dressed to the nines. They've primped and painted. They arrive together for the kegger at Kent's house. His mom's out of town, and the requisite red Dixie cups overfloweth. All the teens are already mostly stoned or getting there in one hot hurry. That includes Sam's guy, Rob. He's so wasted he can barely stand. But, hey, a few more beers, and he assures her he'll be ready to go.

Between then and midnight, there are the usual kids making out on the furniture and floors, the usual suspects vomiting in the sinks and toilets, the usual squabbles, the usual bullying, the usual thrown drinks, the usual girl fight screeches.

But before Sam and Rob can have their appointed get together, the girls decide to pile into Lindsay's SUV and head for home.

That's when the typical routine takes a tumble. Sometime in the early moments of February 13th, Lindsay's vehicle hits something on the rain-slicked road. It skids, rolls, flips end-over-end.

And the girls all die.

Or at least they surely would have, except …

Friday morning. February 12th. 6:50 a.m.

The day starts out like many before it. The alarm rings, and 17-year-old Samantha sits up in bed.

And as a very familiar day begins to play out once again, with breakfast sneers, girl-pal quips and slipped condoms, Sam begins to wonder … what's going on?

Positive Elements

Sam and her friends and family are caught up in an unexplained time loop that only she recognizes. In time, as February 12th plays over and over again in a seemingly endless loop, she realizes just how selfish and hurtful she and her friends have been to each other and to everyone around them.

Sam begins to use her day to reach out to her mom and her sister—letting them both know how important they are to her. She reconnects with a friend whom she turned her back on. She goes out of her way to express her love for family and friends, and she takes steps to "do good" for several people who had been hurt unfairly in the past.

Elsewhere, Kent tells a story of Sam standing up for him when they were both just kids. And he speaks of that moment making him want to be a hero for her. [Spoiler Warning] Sam goes so far as to sacrifice herself to save the life of an emotionally damaged person who had been abused.

Sam also makes it plain that you never know how much time you have with the people you care about. She says you should consider the things you say and the memories you leave behind. In fact, she specifically states, "What you do matters in the moment, and maybe into infinity."

Spiritual Content

The time loop itself could be seen as some kind of magical event, though its origin is never explained. At one point Sam wonders if she actually died and the loop is her Hell.

Sexual Content

Sam's friends talk repeatedly, and sometimes crudely, about Sam's scheduled sexual "appointment" with Rob. They make jokes about various sexual activities and the movements associated with them.

In one of the time-looped days, Sam keeps Rob sober long enough to have sex with him. They're both partially clothed (he's shirtless, and she's in her underwear), and the camera watches briefly as they embrace and move together in the shadows. In several other loops, a drunken Rob spills his drink on Sam's shirt; he gropes her as he moves to "dry her off." We also see him and Sam kiss passionately in the school lunchroom. Sam also kisses someone else several times.

Sam and a couple of other girls are shown in their underwear. A young woman lifts her shirt and presses her bra-covered top on a car window. Teens make out at a party. At one point, Sam wears a low-cut outfit and flirts seductively with a male teacher in front of the class (though he defuses the situation). During Cupid Day celebrations, a young woman who's labeled as gay looks around and declares that she's in "hetero-normative Hell."

Violent Content

We see a vehicle full of teens crash and tumble over and over again. Someone gets run over by a speeding car, her body left in a jumbled heap. Another young woman is hit by a large truck.

Crude or Profane Language

One f-word and seven s-words join about a dozen uses of "b--ch," half a dozen uses of "h---" and one or two uses each of "d--n" and "a--." God's name is misused five times, once while combined with "d--n."

Drug and Alcohol Content

Teens get staggeringly drunk at a raucous party. Each of the principal characters drinks beer, and some are seen drinking some kind of clear alcohol.

Other Negative Elements

In one looped day, Sam decides to pull out all the "nasty" stops. She yells harshly at family members and argues with nearly everyone.

We hear a story about someone urinating in a sleeping bag after her parent's divorce. During a screaming argument at a party, people throw cups of beer on a crying girl.

Conclusion

You may have heard this film compared to 1993's Groundhog Day, since it employs the same life-on-repeat gimmick. The difference here, however, is that this pic peppers its spin-cycle plot with a fashionably decorated school locker full of drama-drenched teen girl angst instead of comedy.

In that light, we get to watch the same gaggle of pretty-but-not-nice school kids walk through the steps of their daily dance of popularity. As the movie points out what it sees as typical teen behavior—including wild partying, obsession over appearance, casual attitudes about sex, and rampant cruelty—we get quite an eyeful.

That said, Before I Fall does eventually turn a redeeming corner. As Samantha repeats her daily time loop and starts to search for any possible way out, she begins to see what her life really looks like and just how unkind she's been to pretty much everyone in it.

"Remind me again. Why do we hate Juliet?" she asks her friends. Bit by bit Sam starts making the kinds of small, positive choices that transform her into, well, someone worth being around. And so she helps this movie become a story that ultimately asks teen viewers to think about what they have, what they do, what they value and who they want to be.

Pro-social Content

Objectionable Content

Summary Advisory

Plot Summary

Christian Beliefs

Other Belief Systems

Authority Roles

Profanity/Violence

Kissing/Sex/Homosexuality

Discussion Topics

Additional Comments/Notes

Episode Reviews

Content Caution

Kids
Teens
Adults

Credits

Rating

PG-13

Readability Age Range

Author

Cast

Zoey Deutch as Samantha Kingston; Halston Sage as Lindsay; Logan Miller as Kent; Medalion Rahimi as Elody; Cynthy Wu as Ally Harris; Jennifer Beals as Mom; Elena Kampouris as Juliet Sykes

Director

Ry Russo-Young ( )

Distributor

Open Road Films

Network

Performance

Record Label

Platform

Publisher

In Theaters

March 3, 2017

On Video

Year Published

Awards

Reviewer

Bob Hoose

We hope this review was both interesting and useful. Please share it with family and friends who would benefit from it as well.

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