There is something about English filmmakers and their unique perspective of telling a story. Even if it is the type of story that we have all seen many times over. That unique perspective lends an air of originality and poignancy to the whole thing. If you were to take a glance at the back of the cover of the dvd or blu-ray of Ol Parker’s (Imagine Me & You) Now is Good your eyes might roll hard heartedly seeing that it is another film about a young person with a terminal disease and that a bunch of sad stuff is bound to follow. Now, I agree with you that most of the time these types of films (and there are many of them) are melodramatic and manipulative. I’m here to tell you that this is not the case here. This is a different type of film. Different enough, anyways, that it warrants you spending some of your free time watching it.
As a young woman who knows that she cannot expect as many future days as her contemporaries, Tessa Scott (Dakota Fanning – The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2, The Secret Lives of Bees) has a clear plan of how she wants to spend her remaining precious days. Diagnosed with leukemia as a young girl, Tessa has been sick for most of her life. Now at age 17 she has stopped her treatment and has decided to let nature take its course. She has compiled a list of things that she wants to do before she dies. It is a lot of the usual stuff like break the law, lose her virginity, use drugs, etc. Tessa and her best friend Zoey (Kaya Scodelario – Clash of the Titans – 2010, Moon) set about checking things off the list.
Somewhere in between breaking the law and using drugs Tessa meets the boy next door, Adam (Jeremy Irvine – War Horse). Adam is a little stuck in life. He spends his time taking care of the garden in the backyard when he really should be going on to college. The two make an instantaneous connection and before they know it, and probably unwisely, they fall in love.
Now these two young people have to deal with these new emotions at the same time that Adam has to adjust to the fact that the first girl he has fallen in love with is going to die soon.
Films of this type are tricky in that the audience, while sympathizing with the unfairness of someone struck down in their youth, will be a little weary as they have seen it all before. That means your slant on the story has to be a little different. Ol Parker wrote the screenplay based on the novel by Jenny Downham and it is filled with plenty of lyrical and delightful dialogue. Of the type that is fairly typical of the English. They really do speak the language better than we do. It truly does go a long way towards alleviating the been there, done that feeling you might have going in. That coupled with some strong performances and you have yourself a good film.
Being this is the first film of veteran (in regards to the number of films she has made) actress Dakota Fanning’s I have seen in her teen years besides the Twilight crap I was looking forward to it. I wasn’t disappointed. The elder Fanning is proving herself to be a true actress. Though her English accent is, as the people from that side of the Atlantic are want to say, at times dodgy, her performance never is. It is not an easy role, what with all the sadness coupled with the wiser than her years banter Tessa spouts. To make is believable yet filled with youthful energy is a tricky task and Dakota Fanning is up to the task.
Supporting Dakota Fanning’s solid performance are ones by Jeremy Irvine, Kaya Scodelario, Paddy Considine (The Bourne Ultimatum, In America) as Tessa’s father, and Olivia Williams (An Education, The Sixth Sense) as her mother. In other words, this is a film in which everyone is rowing in the same direction.
-Making Moments: Creating Now is Good
-Previews of Blu-ray Disc is High Definition, The First Time, The Untouchables, Robot and Frank, Playing for Keeps, Abel’s Field