Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Book-to-Movie Review: Before I Fall

Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver released in 2010, I was a twenty-year old who spent weekends in Borders (this was the year before it closed its doors permanently) and I picked books based first on their cover and length, then on the blurb on the back. It had a cover that featured a female's face in the grass, her green eyes wide open. At the time I was reading and reviewing books for a specific publisher and this was supposed to be one of my fun weekend reads away from required reading and homework. I was hooked from the start, I remember finishing it in a day and telling all of my friends to read it. To this day I still read everything Lauren Oliver releases, so imagine my delight when Before I Fall was finally made into a movie, with a female director and writer no less. Calling me an educated movie critic would be a stretch of the truth, but I do love films, especially those based on books and I'm excited to start this monthly post with all the new book-turned-movies that are releasing.

Before I Fall
Novel by Lauren Oliver - released October 2010
Movie written by Maria Maggenti, directed by Ry Russo-Young
Released March 3, 2017 
The film stars Zoey Deutch, Halston Sage, Logan Miller, Kian Lawley, Jennifer Beals, Diego Boneta and Elena Kampouris.

February 12 is just another day in Sam's charmed life, until it turns out to be her last. Stuck reliving her last day over one inexplicable week, Sam untangles the mystery around her death and discovers everything she's losing.
Rated PG-13 for mature thematic content involving drinking, sexuality, bullying, some violent images, and language-all involving teens.
99 minutes

Similar to Groundhog Day, Sam Kingston is stuck reliving her last day on earth after having died in an accident with her friends after a party. Sam and her friends are the popular, mean girls on campus; they have the looks, the money, and the power to make others tremble. One is smart, one is sexy, one is tough, and Sam is good. They spend their last day on earth gossiping, teasing Sam about her plan to lose her virginity, and taunting Juliet, an outsider. When Juliet appears at the party in the evening things take a turn from fun to scary, as their mean insults soon turn into physical violence, leaving Juliet running from the scene in tears. The evening ends in a car accident and in the morning the day starts all over again. Over the course of several days Sam begins to break away from her natural habits as a popular girl, she first fights the mold then embraces her inner good self. She befriends her sister, reunites with an old friend, and finally, she finds compassion for Juliet, the outsider who knows all of the popular girl's secrets. Knowing what she must do, she awakes on the final day and changes the course of her life and all those around her.

The movie is sad and romantic, but not because of Sam's newfound connection to her old friend Kent. Sams romance is with herself rather, as she discovers how to be a sister and a friend, to love herself enough to love others. The movie highlights the struggles Sam's friends go through, even though their image is that of top-dog. Their past and their insecurities drive their mean girl behavior and Sam's insider knowledge will make movie-viewers care for their outcome, even thought we know they've done wrong.

The actresses perfectly resembled the characters I saw in my head and though it strays from the novel a bit, the story line is generally the same. The spirit of the book is alive and well in the movie, encouraging viewers to take a step back and evaluate how they view themselves and others and how they treat those in their life. Sam realizes, in the book and the movie, that she has the ability to change someone else's life for the better, even at the risk of her own. Fans of the book will enjoy the teen movie, except for maybe the music paired with it. My 29-year-old boyfriend watched it with me and even said, "that's one of the better teen movies I've seen in a long time." If he likes it, you probably will too.

Available for Rent and Purchase:
Youtube - iTunes - Amazon - GooglePlay


  1. I've seen pretty good reviews of this and hope to see it soon! Good to hear that the actress did a good job with Sam and that the message of the book is still there. Great review!!

    1. Thank you Genni! I hope you enjoy it when you get a chance to see it!


© Carlene Inspired. Made with love by The Dutch Lady Designs.