Right in time for Family Day weekend, Director Ry Russo-Young and actress Zoey Deutch arrived in Toronto for the TIFF Next Wave Film Festival. The weekend-long event features youth-centric programming and had the distinction of screening for us the Sundance selection, based on the Novel by Lauren Oliver.
The Teen Drama shot over 26 days in British Columbia with a half-Canadian crew, centers on a girl named Samantha (Deutch) who on her school’s annual Cupid Day is set to take her relationship to the next level with her boyfriend Rob (Kian Lawley). Joining her for a party that night are best friends Lindsay (Halston Sage), Elody (Medalion Rahimi) and Allison (Cynthy Wu).
Let’s face it – the girls aren’t the nicest but there are reasons behind that. A victim of their bullying is the fragile Juliet (Elena Kampouris). After a tragic car crash, Samantha awakens to find herself reliving Cupid Day allover again, each time learning something new, yet somehow still unable to avoid tragic circumstances. Despite its non-linear storytelling which at once advances the plot while repeatedly going back in time to the same starting point, we see Samantha‘s character grow despite her revisiting different ways she could have lived that day until ultimately we see she was actually in control of her own destiny all along.
Make no mistake, despite it feeling and looking on paper much like mainstream Young Adult fare, its marketing and distribution is more geared to the Indie-loving Festival-Goer. Before I Fall goes to much darker places than your typical YA fare, asking more uncomfortable questions than others and for that we applaud it. We love Deutch‘s heartfelt performance, us falling more in love with her Samantha the more the story progresses. Several performances here are a real revelation including Queen Bee Halston Sage and also Australian Liv Hewson (seen recently in Netflix‘s Santa Clarita Diet) who while only in a couple scenes, really leaves an impression as lesbian classmate Anna Cartullo. Before I Fall gives us light in a dark time and it is impossible not to leave feeling enlightened through it all.
See some footage of Russo-Young and Deutch who took the time to greet and chat with Fans following the Film: