Before I Fall : Book vs. Movie

The following article originally appeared in Juniata High School's newspaper The Arrowhead.  

Before I Fall is a relatable story that takes place in high school, except for the fact that the main character is reliving the same day over and over again for a week. There are boys, unfortunate outcasts, exclusive parties, and great friendships that everyone needs to get through the day. When Samantha and her friends decide to go to a party the Friday before Valentine’s Day, a girl named Juliet, who’s branded as a psycho, shows up and tells the girls her truest feelings. Samantha and her friends leave soon after and when someone drops a cigarette in the car, they crash. Samantha is sure she’s dead, but instead she wakes up in her bed and it’s Friday all over again. From there on, the cycle continues and Samantha has to figure out who she has to save--Juliet or herself.

Typically, I’m one to say that no adaptation can top the original book, but this may be an exception. In the novel, there are several events that happen almost every day that Samantha repeats. Some of them have purpose while some don’t. Most likely for the sake of time, the adaptation did not include all of these events, which was okay. Also in the book, Samantha has a little sister, Izzy. She takes at least one day of those she repeats to spend time with her sister. Although not described thoroughly in the book, the reader knows Samantha loves her. In the adaptation, the day she takes off with her sister is portrayed beautifully and admittedly made me think about my relationship with my younger sister. One thing that disappointed me was the depiction of Samantha’s best friends. In the novel, Samantha has good relationships with each one of her friends and it is easy to remember who is who. In the movie, however, you usually only see them bunched together in a group and have to pay close attention in order to distinguish the characters. Nevertheless, the evident bond between Samantha and her friends is present in both the book and the novel, and they both contain an amazing representation of what female friendships look like in high school today. Small details, such as names only being mentioned once, stay consistent as well. While the adaptation is not perfectly aligned with the novel, the differences do not have a negative impact on the movie. What’s important is that Lauren Oliver’s messages transfer nicely onto the screen and therefore to the viewers of the movie.

By: Haylee Yocum 

Mr. Trotman is a Civics and Political Science Teacher at Juniata High School.

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