In the new film “Before I Fall,” the simple phrase “it’s never too late” becomes a pivotal piece to the puzzle as time itself comes into question. The film follows a repetitive plot in the most literal sense, where the main character Samantha Kingston (Zoe Deutch) is subject to repeating the same day over and over again until she figures out the change she needs to make. This repetitive plot style originated in the 1995 hit movie “Groundhog Day,” where Bill Murray’s character was stuck in a loop of repeating the same day until he made serious adjustments to how he lived his life.
In this similarly-styled film, Sam is forced to repeat the same Cupid Day as she struggles and continuously fails to make sense of it all. Sam has what seems to be the perfect life of a popular high school student: a popular boyfriend named Rob (Kian Lawley) and three popular best friends, Lindsay (Halston Sage), Ally (Cynthy Wu) and Elody (Medalion Rahimi), all of whom encourage her own popular—and needless to say, bratty—lifestyle.
On the way back from a party after a day of receiving countless roses at school, her and her friends nearly get hit by a truck, swerve over a pothole and flip their car. At that point, Sam wakes up in bed, starting the same day again with a continuous feeling of déjà-vu. Sam is forced to fight and figure everything out alone, as with each new do-over, the previous one is erased and her friends and family are none-the-wiser.
At the beginning of each day—or rather each version of the same day—Sam finds herself falling further and further into confusion and defeat at the realization that no matter what she does, she cannot change what day it is or how everyone else acts. The frustration can be felt by the audience as they watch from their theater seats, hoping and rooting for Sam to get it through her head that there is more to change in her life than the people around her.
With each small detail that she changes trying to fix the progression of events, there are main points throughout the day that she cannot stop. Even when her changes bring about new events, each day ends with traumatic news or Sam witnessing the loss of someone she knows. The party-thrower Kent (Logan Miller), Sam’s old friend from elementary school who turned into a background character as she strived to fit in, suddenly becomes a piece to the puzzle, as does all of her closest and most strained relationships, each in their own manner.
As the days go on, something clicks for Sam and she begins to dig deeper into the meaning and mystery. With each failed attempt and the events getting more traumatizing the harder she tries, Sam realizes that no matter how many days she has, she has to live out each one with the best intentions.
“Before I Fall” is mysterious, shocking, (sometimes) emotional and thought-provoking. Although it only received 68 percent on Rotten Tomatoes, it is less repetitive in the sense of dated remakes and much more intriguing than expected. The plot itself creates the chance for viewers to wonder how they would deal if they were caught in the same situation. In addition to several edge-of-the-seat moments, it is refreshing to see films feature new faces and succeed at making old ideas relatable in modern time.