“Before I Fall”: How a spoonful of poison was dropped into a barrel of honey

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Approximate reading time: 18 min.
 
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Review of the film Before I Fall (2017) of the project What is good.

Having caught on the beautiful name and the mesmerizing trailer, I decided to watch this movie. Until the final credits were about seven minutes, and I was sure that in front of me is one of the most worthy representatives of teenage movies. The film, where through mysticism and fantasy to the viewer, simple, but wise and rare in the modern world, thoughts. However, the last footage of the final turned everything upside down, and now I will not recommend this film, but still based on his story I will voice the important topics that it reveals.

Plot

Cute and young Samantha meets a new day – Friday, Valentine’s Day, pleasant weather, a good SMS message from the morning. The girl has many global plans for this day, including trusting her young man, for the first time spending the night with him. But “a man proposes, but God disposes.”

Samantha gets to a party where an unpleasant incident occurs and, frankly, she behaves herself is extremely unseemly. Hastily leaving this “holiday” with friends, she dies in an accident.

The next morning, waking up in her own bed, Samantha is again in the Friday festive morning of the day, which should change her life. And, no matter how she tried to change the course of events on this ill-fated night, she wakes up again on Friday morning, Valentine’s Day. And so, in this endless “Groundhog Day” Samantha knocks like a blind kitten, doing that noble, then low deed, then trying to overcome the task with the mind, then falls into hysterics and submits to momentary impulses.

Samantha touches upon thousands of chances to live perfectly this one day, and for this she needs to completely change herself.

matritsa vremeni 1 Before I Fall: How a spoonful of poison was dropped into a barrel of honey

The main themes in the film are, in fact, four and in most cases they resonate with each other.

1. Chastity and the choice of the second half
2. The pressure of a degrading society in a teenage environment
3. Prioritizing the waste of time
4. Death

Chastity and choice of the second half

Samantha is still a girl, and for a normal person, considering that she is young (only 17-18 years old) and did not find her love, it is not a merit, but just an adequate and normal position, and vice versa – it would be strange and condemned, If a high school student was not innocent. But we are talking about the modern Western secular school.

Experienced girlfriends Samantha, led by Lindsay – the herald of girlish “flocks”, are urging Samantha to give herself quickly to the guy Rob – a sort of Neanderthal, illiterate, stupid, unfeeling “boyfriend” of the main character. At the same time Samantha has a childhood friend Kent in love with her, though not handsome, and not popular, but lovingly Samantha, who understands her, and much wiser than herself.

Kent gives her a rose at the feast of lovers, and not red, but white, with reddish edges of petals, hinting at Samantha’s excellence from others, and on her purity. Rob also gives a standard rose and hints at fast sex. Rob trivial to spit on all the feelings of Samantha and herself, Kent can even criticize something in order to help her not make mistakes.

matritsa vremeni 2 Before I Fall: How a spoonful of poison was dropped into a barrel of honey

And Samantha does not even think about Kent, considering it is offensive to communicate with him (a friend of childhood!), Although she frankly does not like Rob and does not feel attraction. What motivates her in choosing a man?

Public opinion

Yes. In fact, Samantha meets Rob because it is approved by a society of short-sighted and vulgar girl friends, and the school environment, consisting of typical consumers of pop culture, where Rob is considered “popular” and therefore desirable. Samantha, after only a few of her “Fridays”, finally discovered how Rob had written her illogically with congratulations on Valentine’s Day. She only after a few serious shocks finally began to analyze what is happening around, and first of all – what kind of person is nearby, and that she does not want to associate herself with someone who is trite and worse than she is.

However, the story did not end there, and when the changing Samantha decided to tell her friends honestly what she felt and now thinks, including about the idea of ​​having sex with Rob and the mockery of the local outcast Juliet, this very pressure began.

The big drawback of this line is that on the day of its hysteria, Samantha still gave herself to Rob. Although without undue detail, with a clear emphasis on the fact that it was a mistake, with Samantha’s regret and even the fact that on the “next day” it was obliterated, in Samantha’s soul and in memory, it was this guy who became her first man, and this is Offensive and unfair, but compared to the finals, it’s only flowers.

The pressure of degradation society

In one of the key scenes of the film, clogged by the mockery of the evil teenagers “Scarecrow” – Juliet throws herself at Samantha and her friends. Juliet calls Lindsay a bitch, her two friends-singing along – alcoholics, and Samantha – a rag. And this characteristic really suits the girl.

matritsa vremeni 32 Before I Fall: How a spoonful of poison was dropped into a barrel of honey

Yes, she is weak-willed. Because only such a person can allow a degraded and insolent girl Lindsay to be the head of their girlish girls and to obey her. In one of the scenes of the already twisted time loop, Lindsay, hearing from Samantha that she refuses to sleep with Rob, sends him sms, explaining the reason for the “transfer” of their intimate relations. That is, with all its impudence and recklessness, Lindsay simply suits Samantha’s life as she wants, and in general displays an aggressive and unhealthy interest in what concerns only Samantha and her men.

Because of his weakness, Samantha hesitantly and reluctantly agrees to the crowd mocking Juliet, and to the legitimate outrage of her friend Kent, she could only shrug her shoulders. “Yes!” Yes, I like everything! “.

Accidentally, having got into the room of Kent, Samantha sees the inscription “Be yourself” and in conversations with him, then with her mother she remembers that, as a matter of fact, she was a kind, gentle and good girl when Kant was in love with her. In one of the “marmot days” he even sent her a “valentine” with the text “You’re not so” when she decided to completely dissolve.

At the same time, she calls herself “rubbish”, realizing that her behavior towards Juliet was terrible, but finds the strength to change and fight for the right to be herself, only in connection with the shock.

Why now she has become “like everyone else”? Why did I stop being myself? Why is it now slowly, but surely, on the path of sloppiness, frivolous and evil girl?

Because she wants to be popular in the school environment, wants to be as “cool” as Lindsay’s got in, and therefore, along with two other faceless and similar girls, she, in fact, falls into the abyss. At the same time Samantha is not brought up in the worst family – she has happy and loving parents, not too strict, but not too soft, there is a younger sister who requires care. Samantha – a very happy girl, but still subject to this influence of the circle, where she got, and adjusts to it as best she can.

matritsa vremeni 4 Before I Fall: How a spoonful of poison was dropped into a barrel of honey

An outcast like Juliet, trying even to commit suicide, or the more wiser Anna, who is closed from society, is, according to the plot, for Samantha a visual marker of what will happen to you if you are not “like everyone else”. If you intercede for the weak, be different from the crowd. Even phones all have the same – fashionable “iPhones”, as a hint of lack of individuality in everyone and blind obedience to the rules set “from above”.

It should be separately said that the phrase “Be yourself” today is a youth trend of the last time, but most often in popular culture it is served with a message meaning – live brightly, put on your body fashionable tattoos (spoil your body, take risks), behave uninhibited and etc. Uniqueness in opinion, in lifestyle, in self-development is not only discouraged, but can also be laughed at. As it happens, when sobriety is laughed at among “culturally drinkers”, innocence among “experienced peers”, modesty among “dissolute” and so on. It is this threat of expulsion from the circle of socially acceptable and popular representatives of society that serves as a means for Samantha to pressure herself, to indicate what to do, how to think, whom to hate and whom to sleep with.

However, in the film under consideration the phrase “Be yourself” has a positive meaning and in Samantha’s mother’s lips it sounds like: “Find the best and focus on it.”

Samantha finds the best in herself – her still not extinguished kindness and desire to take care of everyone and everyone. She forgives everyone, including her friends, finding something good in everyone, and even Lindsay at the end of the film turns out to be just an unhappy and ruined child who has become a villain because of the lack of parents’ love and her fear of condemnation and mockery. Samantha on the last day tries to give a kindly attention to everyone around her, to make this day bright and special for all.

matritsa vremeni 5 Before I Fall: How a spoonful of poison was dropped into a barrel of honey

However, before this, Samantha has to realize one more truth.

Prioritizing the waste of time

The last and simplest truth that the authors of the film sound is that time is finite, and it needs to be spent on what is important. This echoes the theme of the pressure of society, and here the direct text says that all this environment with its false stereotypes of behavior imposed from the outside is a “pshik,” which is temporary and not worthy of attention. There is the present – in communicating with relatives and loved ones, in moments of happiness that does not depend on social success. These are eternal moments, they will always exist, they will be expensive and sincere, unlike fleeting fuss for “popularity” among unworthy people.

And here we come to the finale, which from quite instructive film made forbidden content for its target audience.

Death

Realizing that “Groundhog Day” depends on the death of Juliet, who committed suicide under the wheels of the car, Samantha decides to hold the last “Friday” in the best possible way, as she realizes that she might have to take the risk to save Juliet.

So it turns out – when the persuasion did not work and Juliet, obeying the senses, again ran under the car, Samantha pushed her away and got under the wheels herself.

I naively assumed that Samantha should now wake up on Saturday next day in the hospital, under the wing of a beloved family and finally found true love. But Samantha in a deathbed speech makes a speech about the fact that every day you need to live as the last one, and goes into another world, saying that Juliet saved her. It is possible that the theme of death as an atonement for sins would lie on such a plot, perhaps it would even be nice to tell about the fleetingness of life and recall death. Maybe, but only if it’s not a children’s or teenage movie.

If you disassemble the film frankly and impartially – it is very simple: simple expressions, simple dialogues, in fact, everyday discussions. He is straightforward, his characters are graduates and graduates of the school. Many expressions, rude behavior and some topics are forgiven only for this topic. Indeed, it is silly to make modern teenagers speak Shakespeare’s language and talk about plausibility. And in this total simplicity, the spectator in the finale, on the forehead, when all the questions are closed, when the viewer has already experienced catharsis along with the heroine, we are told that only death is the only way out of the “marmot’s day” that is often compared to vanity.

There are films for different audiences, and the audience depends on both the characters and the style of the film. Too many-sided plot can be incomprehensible and uninteresting for children, too simple plot will be uninteresting for adults. In this simple story, the audience will take everything literally not because they are stupid, but because they still perceive it. So, the idea of ​​”death as salvation” on a light background and in a kind of “happy end” in a simple film on the plot, aimed at a teenage audience, will also be literally interpreted.

To say that life is fleeting, and we have little time to tell our loved ones about our feelings is a good topic, but not for a teenager, especially given the expressiveness of this age and the imposed fashion on teenage suicide.

Whether this is some kind of evil idea or the authors of the film, like the author of the book, have created such an ending unknowingly, I can not judge, but the fact that the film turned out to be unsuitable for its target audience, and it will not be interesting for an adult audience is a fact.

Separately it is worth mentioning that because of the openness of perception, teenage films should only be fair. Is Samantha’s death in the finale? Is it true that the death of who understood the truth, loved the life, found the love, peace and happiness of a girl of 17 years, who has the whole life ahead of her-the life she now knows how to live? Of course, no.

Drugs

Alcohol appears in many episodes, but in the end it is demonstrated that poisoning your body with alcohol while driving leads to an accident.

Sex

The vulgarity and debauchery are shown by the norm in a teenage environment. Closer to the finale, this behavior is criticized, while through the plot the spectator has an adequate attitude to the importance of chastity.

Violence

Present in small numbers and condemned.

Moral

It might be possible with some reservations, and perhaps an easy montage to call the film an interesting and wise work suitable for teenagers opening non-standard for the cinema simple truths, and demonstrating how exactly a wrong society can push a person to degradation, if the filmmakers had not bury the main character In the final.
Nevertheless, the storyline serves as a good illustration of how much “public opinion” affects each of us, and if something becomes popular, then it leaves a mark on most of the society. The greater part of the society equals the others for themselves, and in this picture it is vividly demonstrated how this occurs in the teenage environment. Thus, to raise their children, it is not enough just to educate themselves, but it is important to choose the right environment and take care that the surrounding information space is filled with creative meanings.


Elizabeth Kvasnyuk

Translated by Alina Jumanova

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