Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver has been one of my favourite books ever since I read it way back before I started blogging.
You can find my review for it here, if you’d rather read that first.
What I loved about this film adaptation was the closeness the four main girls portrayed. They were incredibly physically affectionate with each other and it reminded me of my own high school best friends.
I also found it to be a very faithful adaptation. Granted, I haven’t read the book in some years now, but all the main, major events and important plot points I remembered were included except the seduction of the teacher, whose omission I can’t complain about because Sam’s realisation is so psychological I wonder how they would even portray that onscreen. Instead, I think the film writers added a scene with Sam and Rob that I don’t particularly recall from the book but that added its own source of angst for Sam.
One of the major changes they made because film is a visual medium is that Sam appears to be trapped in her Groundhog Day for a lot longer than one week. It helps to understand her desperation and frustration as she tries to change the outcome over and over again.
One of my favourite things to watch was Sam go from being in love with her boyfriend Rob to finding love with Kent. Poor Kent was only experiencing the one day, but Sam’s feelings changed with the extra time she spent with him that he didn’t even know about. And of course Rob is a douchebag who only wants her for sex. He’s an easy guy to hate.
Zooey Deutch quickly became on of my favourite actresses after her portrayal of Rose Hathaway in the Vampire Academy film. I think her portrayal of somewhat innocent, formerly completely unpopular turned queen bee bitch of high school was well done and I can’t fault her at all.
One of the most frustrating things about loving this book is seeing readers give up on it too early because ‘the main character in a bitch.’ Yes, she starts as a bitch. But over the course of the novel and the film, she changes into a decent, caring person who realises her actions have consequences on those around her, from her mother to the outcast lesbian in the classroom to the horrifically bullied Juliet. A prank that Sam and her friends simply find funny is enough to push a girl over the edge. It’s a chance encounter with the lesbian in the girl’s toilet that leads Sam to realise that high school isn’t the prime of life for most other people, that in five years no one will remember her.
I think the film adaptation of Before I Fall is competently fair and a beautiful arrangement of the source material. The book is one of my favourite books and now the film is one of my favourite films. I couldn’t tell you which medium is better, they are both simply magnificent. If you enjoy one, you’re bound to enjoy the other.