Teen dramas: not just for the underaged set.
“I’ve had men in their 60s come up to me and be like, ‘your movie really caught me off guard and moved me,’” said director Ry Russo-Young Tuesday night from the premiere of her latest film, “Before I Fall,” thrown by Marie Claire. The film adaptation of the young-adult novel by the same name, stars Zoey Deutch and Jennifer Beals, and was apparently quite the Hail Mary to make.
“We shot it in 24 days with very little money,” the young director said. “I mean, this got a very wide release, but it’s really a testament to the movie being good.” The film, Russo-Young feels, “invites a certain amount of self-reflection,” hence the unexpected demographic of fans.
And middle-aged men aren’t the film’s only fans. “You want to be a better person after you’ve seen the film,” said Beals, who plays Deutch’s mother, from the lobby of Manhattan’s Landmark Sunshine Theatre. “One of the themes of the film is that on any given day, in any given moment of your life, you can change the rest of your life.”
Lauren Oliver, the author of the original novel, certainly had her own concerns in turning one of her more personal books into a film. “It was first-ever optioned in 2009,” she said, “and it went through so many of the Hollywood ups and downs; vicissitudes.”
The film takes place in the Pacific Northwest, where Deutch’s character Samantha Kingston experiences a Valentine’s Day gone awry, and is put on a Sisyphean loop, reliving the same day over and over again as she is forced to confront her own mean-girl habits. “Of all cultural times to ask questions,” Oliver asked, “how would you enable people to see other people as dimensional and real?”
Deutch took a similar stance to Oliver’s. “In a time of unparalleled meanness, this is about learning how to be kind to yourself and to other people,” the budding actress said. Deutch had gotten back from Milan the day before, and was in head-to-toe Prada — well, minus the toes. “The shoes are Stuart Weitzman,” she said, grabbing Beals to highlight their matching heels.
Because what’s a teen drama without some mother-daughter matching?