Before I Fall

Movie review by
Sandie Angulo Chen, Common Sense Media
Before I Fall Movie Poster Image
Popular with kidsParents recommend
Mix of iffy behavior, strong messages in well-acted YA tale.
  • PG-13
  • 2017
  • 99 minutes

Parents say

age 13+
Based on 11 reviews

Kids say

age 14+
Based on 28 reviews

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The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Plenty of positive messages for teen viewers to consider: There's more to life than popularity and status; everyone deserves a certain amount of respect and empathy; a romantic partner should want to be friends with you, support you, and encourage you, not just have sex with you; friends shouldn't blindly stand back as their friends bully others; parents want to be with and talk to their kids if given the chance for open and honest communication; and more. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

Sam Kingston evolves into an example of redemption and courage as she accepts her chance to save others and make a difference during her repeated experience of the same day. Sam's mother is supportive and kind. Kent is a wonderful friend and a good role model of a friend and potential boyfriend.


The girls get in a fatal car accident one night. In another version of the night, Juliet commits suicide by purposely running in front of a car. In nearly all versions of the night, Juliet confronts Lindsay and her friends, who poke fun at her, push her, and even throw drinks at her face.


Sam plans to have sex for the first time on the night, and her friends make jokes about "no glove, no love" and give her a condom to ensure safe sex. There's one sex scene; it shows a teen couple in a bed half dressed. Sam flirts with her handsome teacher. Various teens kiss and make out at Kent's party. Lindsay and the other girls discuss losing their virginity. Lindsay tells her boyfriend what sexual favor she'll give him if he brings her a drink. Elody flashes her bra to her friends in a non-sexual way.


Strong language includes one "f--king," plus "s--t," "hell," "bitch," "a--hole," "sociopath," "psychokiller," "pathetic," "t-ts," "damn," "bull dyke," and "Mellow Yellow."


Lots of close-ups of Sam's iPhone. Also a couple of cars and Apple MacBook.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Teens drink and get drunk at a party (parents are out of town). One character gets so drunk that she gets sick.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Before I Fall is based on Lauren Oliver's best-selling young-adult novel about 17-year-old Samantha Kingston (Zoey Deutch), who, after a seemingly fatal car accident, wakes up to live the same Friday over and over again. The movie, like the book, has plenty of iffy teen behavior, including partying, sex, verbal and physical bullying, and lying. On some of the repeated days, there's stronger language (including one use of "f--king hell," plus the occasional "b-tch" and "s--t") and more sexual behavior (there's one sex scene, and Sam even propositions a teacher one day) than others. But the day always ends in a party with underage drinking and either a careless-driving-related accident or suicide. In the end, though, the movie poses questions about how teens want to be remembered and has messages about the importance of second chances, the role of empathy, and the value of redemption, courage, and communication.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 9 and 15-year-old Written byMeowstiic T. November 7, 2017

Mature but Important

This movie is very important because of its great messages about suicide. Even with some of the (very) mature content, the messages in this movie are super amaz... Continue reading
Parent Written byTeresa K. March 4, 2017

Not for tweens!

The trailer for this movie looks like a cross between Mean Girls and Groundhog Day. Since it's rated PG-13 I thought I'd be ok bringing two thirteen... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written byEl.4nier April 7, 2020

Amazing movie!! Gets you thinking

I personally think that this movie is underrated. It has such a good message and it makes you realize that EVERY DAY COUNTS. It also makes you realize that, eve... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written byeva_07 June 13, 2020

Mature but good

I think this movie is for mature audiences only. The movie talks about sex, suicide and has a good amount of swearing. The F words is also used about two or thr... Continue reading

What's the story?

Based on Lauren Oliver's best-selling 2010 young-adult novel, BEFORE I FALL follows 17-year-old Samantha "Sam" Kingston (Zoey Deutch). Sam seems to have it all as she heads off to school on "Cupid Day" -- the Friday before Valentine's Day, when everyone gets roses at school from friends, significant others, and secret admirers. Sam and her three best friends -- including queen bee Lindsay (Halston Sage), Elody (Medalion Rahimi), and Ally Harris (Cynthy Wu) -- plan to end their day at a keg party hosted by Kent (Logan Miller), Sam's former childhood friend. But at the party, where Sam was supposed to have sex for the first time with her boyfriend, Rob (Kian Lawley), the popular girls get into an ugly confrontation with Juliet (Elena Kampouris), the school misfit they've been bullying for years. As they leave the party, Sam and her friends get into a fatal car accident -- and, a moment later, Sam wakes up to find it's the morning of the same Friday she just lived. No matter what she does, Sam keeps repeating the same day, Groundhog Day-style ... until she figures out what her mission is and can finally move forward.

Is it any good?

This well-acted young-adult adaptation explores powerful themes about making second chances count and seeing beyond the superficial to what really matters. Deutch -- looking very similar to her mother, Lea Thompson, circa Some Kind of Wonderful -- does a fabulous job carrying the film. She appears in every scene and has to modify her mood as Sam goes through the stages of grief while dealing with the confusion, anger, and determination of repeating the same day again and again. It's particularly impressive to watch Sam see her friends and family in a new light as she approaches the day with different attitudes -- sometimes abandoning all caution and acting aggressively, other times being sweet to her parents (Jennifer Beals plays her mother) and little sister in a way she hasn't in years.

Director Ry Russo-Young captures the spirit of Oliver's book while smartly making certain aspects a bit more ambiguous. The cast members are all up to the task, particularly Miller as the kind and encouraging Kent, and Sage as ice-queen Lindsay, who knows when to let the subtlest vulnerability show. But it's ultimately Deutch's performance that makes Before I Fall so moving. Her Sam is utterly believable. It takes her a while of repeating Cupid Day to perfect it; once she does, it's a beautiful, bittersweet day.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the messages in Before I Fall. What are they? What can viewers learn from Sam's journey?

  • How does the story convey the importance of empathy, courage, and communication? Why are they important character strengths?

  • What does the movie have to say about bullying? Who acts like a bully throughout the movie, and who doesn't? How do characters redeem themselves?

  • How does the movie depict underage drinking? Does it seem realistic? What are the consequences?

  • For those familiar with the book: How does the movie compare to the novel? Is it faithful? What, if anything, did you miss? What changes did you like?

Movie details

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