Knowing her days are numbered, Tessa struggles to make every moment count, and dives headlong through every wild, crazy act of teenage rebellion that she can dream up which includes a passionate romance with her neighbor, Adam.
Tessa Scott (Dakota Fanning) is a seventeen year old girl who has recently stopped her chemotherapy treatments, hoping to improve the quality of the life she has left. She has a list of things to do before she dies, with “having sex” at the very top.
Based on the YA book Before I Die by Jenny Downham, this movie will inevitably invite comparisons to That Other Cancer Movie Coming Out Soon. While Tessa and Hazel’s situations are similar, however, their way of handling their terminal illnesses are vastly different. Tessa is a bit of a rebel and a brat, but she does it in a very charming, blunt way that makes her father (who is still vainly hoping for a cure) uncomfortable, and her avoidant mother smile.
Dakota Fanning as Tessa Scott
Fanning turns in a great performance and a reasonably good English accent. (I’m not an accent expert, but it didn’t make me cringe, so yay!) As with so many movies that deal with illness, she never really looks sick, just less luminous, but Fanning does a great job of conveying her anger and sadness with her expressive eyes.
Jeremy Irvine as Adam
Irvine was a new face to me, but if you’ve seen the 2012 version of Great Expectations, he starred as Pip. His character – and his face – are positively dreamy, and I’ll be keeping my eye out for him in the future.
Olivia Williams as the mother
I couldn’t figure out why she looked so familiar to me until I realized that she played a part in Dollhouse.
Couch-Sharing Capability: Hold Me
Unless you and your friends are attempting to prepare for The Fault In Our Stars by perfecting a more elegant cry, this one is much better suited for when you’re alone and need an excuse to sob. Just make sure there’s someone nearby to awkwardly hug afterward. Luckily, the truly sad moments are limited – but there are a few poignant moments with Tessa’s little brother and parents that made me wince.
Recommended Level of Inebriation: Moderate
The amount you should drink depends on whether booze triggers sadness for you – if so, a drink or two should be more than enough. The premise is heartbreaking on its own – whip out the waterproof mascara if you’re having a drink!
Use of Your Streaming Subscription: Pretty Good
This was a surprisingly good, entertaining movie – I initially turned it on because of Jeremy Irvine’s face (what?! It was 2am and I couldn’t sleep, don’t judge me) – but I found myself swept up in the story. It was never cheesy, and didn’t resort to cancer clichés, although the storyline is fairly predictable. I was charmed by Tessa and Adam, delighted with her insensitive-but-adorable little brother Cal, and felt really terrible for her poor parents. It will inevitably be compared to The Fault in Our Stars, but I think it stands on its own.