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Before I Fall Movie Review (2017) | An Unserious Loop Movie

Frankly, I didn’t know Before I Fall was going to be a chick-flick. 10 minutes into the movie and I was already bracing myself for a lot of teen “Woohoos” and the quintessential “Oh My Gods”. Then I realized I hadn’t stepped into it properly, and these girls were really getting started. Somewhere in the back of my mind, I knew there were going to be a lot of selfies, presumably “cool” talk, and all that nonsensical high school BS that you grow out of at some point.

Then unfurled the plot of Before I fall movie that was nothing but a loop story. To live all of that high school madness every single day, now that was a testing time. Seriously, I hoped the movie to go somewhere with its climax, but unfortunately, it fell dead without a logical explanation to tack it upon. The movie feels like a flippant affair that doesn’t let you become serious.

Plot and Theme of Before I Fall Movie (Spoilers Ahead)

The story is based on the novel written by Lauren Oliver. A 17-year-old girl Samantha portrayed by Zoey Deutch wakes up from a car accident where she has been killed, only to find out she is well intact. Her day goes on, as she gathers her friends Lindsay (Halston Sage), Ally and Elody to begin her regular day at school. It’s Cupid Day at school and in the evening there’s this huge party thrown in by Kent McFuller portrayed by Logan Miller the guy in love with Sam.

For some of us, there’s only today and what you do today matters, in the moment and maybe to infinity. But I didn’t know any of that until I fell.

They have a rough night with Juliet Sykes played by Elena Kampouris, the school psycho girl, showing up at the party as they end up in a scuffle with her. They leave early only to meet a car accident, yes it’s the one that kills Sam.

However, when Sam wakes up, she realizes it is the same day all over again. Even though she does things differently she ends up with the same result. The same day repeats itself. When she refuses to go to the party and stays home instead, she gets a message about Juliet getting killed. The following days see her trying things differently so as to try and figure out what is she missing on. But at the end of the day Juliet dies, and she has to relive the same day all over again.

image of Zoey Deutch and Halston Sage in Before I Fall

Doing the Right Thing

She realizes that in focusing on being a part of the “Mean Girls” group she has been missing out on so many good things in her life. She has unknowingly turned into someone else.

It is only when she realizes the truth behind Juliet’s insecurities that she understands what is causing that accident. It is a pissed off Juliet who is running towards the road that seems to be the reason for her clogged fate. With hopes to make amends, she does all the things the way they should have been done in the first place, where she appreciates her little sister, her mother and father.

I see only my greatest hits. I see the things I want to remember and be remembered for. That’s when I realize that certain moments go on forever, even after they are over they go on. They are the meaning.

She tells everyone why they are important to her. She does right by kissing Logan and telling him that she loves him too. You know all the good stuff! Then this time when Juliet shows up she runs after her coaxing her not to suicide which she nevertheless attempts to do. However, Sam pushes her away just in time only to kill herself in the process.

Obvious Flaws

Before I Fall is a fully flawed movie; you can’t just pinpoint one. The first question that pops in your mind is why Sam is not sharing whatever she saw with her friends or family? Why is she not telling anyone about her day, that she had been living the same day over and over again? If she had, maybe it would have gone in a different way. Because that’s the natural thing and the first thing that you might do instead of trying to figure out everything all by yourself.

That angle was left out altogether. Doing so would have at least made her into a superhero, as she would have predicted everything like a boss.

Isn’t that how it always works out? There’s somebody laughing and there’s somebody being laughed at?

Characters in the movie are very thinly made too. It is hard to feel for them when there is nothing solid to chew upon. Like that of Juliet Sykes who starts abusing the gang, out of the blue. It appears very much contrived.

The Million Dollar Question

Then the movie goes in an apparent diegesis of sorts where a dead Sam is actually speaking to the audience. She admits to being killed and then talks about her choices. It’s the afterlife she tries to speak from, but why do her choices matter then when she has clearly died? She states in the end that she has learned how to live, but there’s no life left, right? Then what’s the point?

If saving Juliet would have stopped the loop, she could have done that without killing herself. Like the sanest thing to do would have been to tug at her, stopping her from going to the road in the first place. You don’t reason with a person who is destined to kill herself at a particular time when she is standing so close to the road. You just stop her from going anywhere near the road. Period.

Then there was nothing out of the ordinary in the screenplay too. Nothing intelligible about Ry Russo-Young‘s direction either.

The Final Verdict

I personally loved all the actors though. They were not only gorgeous to look at, they were capable of bringing a smile to your face. For instance how Elody played by Medalion Rahimi would come running and dancing to the car from her house. Or how Sam was really tight with Lindsay. It was lovely seeing how they used to be around each other.

Then again, there wasn’t any morsel of intelligence to Before I Fall movie. It seemed to have been created just for the heck of telling a loop story tacked with personal choices. Doing the right thing, being who you are, are some of the most cliched topics that are floating out there. You literally feel your IQ degrade after watching Before I Fall.

It might appeal a lot to the younger generation though. Watching it or not watching it is entirely your choice.

You can check out the trailer of Before I Fall Movie here:

Birdman: Or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) Review (2014) | Genius

Exhilarating! Extraordinary performances! Birdman: Or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) is an outstanding flick that tries to capture the life of a washed up actor, his continuous battle to prove his mettle in the acting world once again. Michael Keaton, the protagonist plays a character that is miffed by his psychotic split persona, in his endeavour to revive and in the process, get a hold of himself.

Plot of Birdman: Or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)

Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu’s riveting drama isn’t just about a lost actor who is trying to find himself through a Broadway play but is also about a broken man trying to justify his relevance to the world. Birdman is an extremely well written dramatic account of Riggan’s life, his tattered relationships, his dream to make it big once again and the alter-ego that literally rules over him. 

still of michael keaton in birdman movie

Direction

Inarittu’s direction is a beauty as he merges several frames subtly to project a continuous shot. The whole movie seems like it has been shot in a single take, and that illusion is worth an ovation. The director also gorgeously masters every frame’s timing quotient. Every act starts with a proper follow through of a character only getting intercepted when it’s someone else’s queue. The flow and rhythm of the movie is simply splendid. 

There is something beautiful about Birdman’s story. The ploy is brilliantly narrated through the messed up head of Riggan with glimpses from his past debacles, screenplay that makes you brood that often cross over for emphasis, an ever ending take that goes on till the climax, and a conclusion that loosely dangles for intense interpretation. Everything has been wrapped up beautifully by an audacious and dark voice in his head, the one big thing he ever was – Birdman, one big success from the past that keeps haunting him, telling him he isn’t dead and that he flies above the meaningless. 

Breaking Birdman Down

With an imaginary backdrop working along with the protagonist, you already know that you are in for a fantasy-world. What is crucial is that you pay attention. There are minute subtle hints that will blow your mind away while trying to connect the dots. 

If we overlook the mind boggling ending for a while, still we are left with some exceptional drama pieces like when Sam speaks up to her father and shatters him with cold, when Riggan takes on a famous NYT critic in a bar and excellent conversations between Mike and Sam and Lesley’s remorse. Things become intense owing to bits of psychotic drama as Riggan inches towards insanity. The climax of the movie leaves you spell bound and is deliberately left open for interpretation.

Final Epilogue Explained (Spoilers)

If you have not seen the movie, please stop reading at once. But if you have, the ending is sure to raise a dozen doubts in your head. 

The flick ends in a surreal epilogue with Riggan jumping out of the window, and Sam reacting happily to her Father’s ‘flying’ act. The one theory that I would like to believe but not stick to is Riggan’s death after he shot himself during the theater act. Reasons that reassure me of this:

  • The plot was one continuous single take but the continuity breaks for the first time right after Riggan shoots himself.
  • In the hospital when Jake switches on the TV it showed people lighting candles for him. You don’t do that for a person who is alive. Du-uh dead! 
  • The hospital scene was probably the next day right after the incident. Sam bringing flowers for him could be at his funeral. This justified by his inability to smell them. His funeral again supported by the fact that her wife was wearing a black dress. 

Riggan jumping out of the window could be a symbolism of his soul transcending, as he finally rejects Birdman to be his only way to stardom. Sam’s smile in the end could be her acceptance of her father’s feat as a true hero.

Contradicting the Above Theory

What contrasts the above ‘dead’ theory greatly is the fact that there were several past failed suicidal endeavors by Riggan which have been subtly inserted into the screenplay. Lesley responding to Ralph once: “He shot himself in the mouth. But he screwed that up, too.” The Jellyfish story goes on to show how Riggan was unsuccessful in killing himself in the past. So shooting the nose seems plausible. Then it takes us again to the hospital part. Taking this theory ahead on the vanguard, we can say that the imagination of Riggan once again begins right from the part he decides to take off the bandages and the rest that follows is once again the imagination bit. In the end he flew fantastically and figuratively with an acknowledgment sign from her daughter. This seals the deal too.

Whatever the case might have been Birdman is truly a rare feat that must be celebrated. Go ahead and watch this movie if you wish to visit some avant-garde style of film-making.

Check out the trailer of Birdman movie here: