Being the widely popular genre that it is, coming-of-age is often melded with other sub-genres to make its tales a lot more intriguing than your regular fare of high school melodrama. ‘Before I Fall’ is another movie targetted towards young adult viewers that involves powerful themes of self-actualization and living a fulfilling life. While these themes are quite prevalent in the genre, ‘Before I Fall’ adds a time travel twist to its fore in order to make its overall message a lot more impactful and alluring.
For obvious reasons, its elements of time travel are completely fictional. However, its depiction of a high school and the day-to-day snags of its students might feel real to many viewers out there. More so, many would also be able to relate to everything the film’s characters experience. So let’s further understand how the film draws some of its inspiration from real life.
Is Before I Fall Based on a True Story?
As you might have already guessed, ‘Before I Fall’ is not based on a true story. For the most part, especially when it comes to its time travel trope, it draws its inspiration from the classic ‘Groundhog Day‘ “do-over” trope. In this time travel trope, the main character finds himself/herself in a repetitive loop where he/she lives the same day again and again. Apart from ‘Groundhog Day,’ some other well-known movies and shows that follow this trope are ‘Russian Doll‘, ‘Happy Death Day‘, and ‘Source Code.’ But what makes ‘Before I Fall’ slightly different from other similar films is its high school setup and the way it treats its main character.
The main character of ‘Before I Fall’, Samantha Kingston, is not your typical coming-of-age protagonist. In fact, in the initial moments of the movie, she is actually completely the opposite of that. Samantha comes off a high-school mean girl who, along with her friends, bullies and looks down on others. However, with time, the movie unravels a whole new side of her. In most young adult movies and novels, bullies and jocks of a high school are portrayed in a very one dimensional light, but ‘Before I Fall’ attempts to upend these clichés.
The movie also deals with several controversial coming-of-age themes that revolve around eating disorders, sex, drinking, and even suicides. And for obvious reasons, many parents would have a problem with the film’s raw depiction of these. Lauren Oliver, who is the author of the novel from which the movie has been adapted from, was asked if she went a bit too far with all of these controversial themes. To this, she replied that she only wrote the book based on her own high school experiences. “The truth is that we drank in high school; we had sex in high school; we did drugs in high school; people had eating disorders in high school. It’s very possible that some people haven’t been exposed to that and have a very different experience of it, and that’s OK,” she said.
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