Samantha keeps reliving the day of her death over and over again, until she figures a way to break the cycle.
Can we be done with movies using Groundhog Day as a narrative tool, please? The idea of a person reliving the same day lost its novelty on February 13, 1993, a day after the Bill Murray-starrer hit theaters. It’s 2017 now, and we’re still being served the same cheap knock-offs, and we don’t know how to escape this loop.
Just like Samantha (Deutch) doesn’t know how to escape her own Groundhog Day - the day of her death. Sam is your regular high-school girl with a blindingly stereotypical group of friends: the sassy mean girl (Sage), the drunk girl (Rahimi) and the Asian know-it-all (Wu). She wakes up on her judgement day, is mean to her parents, rides to school with her “baes”, breaks hearts, attends a party, gets into a fight, rides back home, meets with an accident and dies. Rinse and repeat.
If you must tell a story where the character is living through the same day every day, must you make it such a drab day? Must the protagonist wear the same outfit every day? Must they fall into the predictable pattern of rebelling on one day, and being saintly on the next? Why is this story even worth telling? Before I Fall leaves you with more questions than answers.
That said, the movie does talk about bullying and the importance of self worth. The concept is done-to-death, but handled with sensitivity. And Deutch’s performance makes you root for Sam, her heartbreaking eventuality aside. Some of the banter between the girls might even crack you up. If you’re a Gossip Girl fan, you may like the setting and take to the characters, unoriginal as they are.
However, nothing can compensate for the fact that it’s a movie about repetition that is, unintentionally, highly repetitive.