Not long ago I wrote a book review about Before the Fall by Noah Hawley. That was a pretty okay book, one I actually managed to finish after a few trips over to the Eden property several summers ago.
But, I also stumbled onto this move, which I at first thought was a movie version of the book, but later discovered it replaced the “the” with an “I” and the movie has absolutely nothing to do with the book.
And, while at the property this week, I took a break from my Unschooled Master of Theology Program and finished this movie.
I was actually rather surprised to find a half decent story with a pretty above average ending.
So, lets take a few seconds and see how great it really was…
A Movie About Popular Girls?
So, I’m not exactly sure where this was supposed to be set in, or even where it was filmed. My first thought was it was supposed to be in Colorado. There were lots of big, steep mountains, and really wealthy homes and a bunch of yuppie kids.
Colorado sound right, doesn’t it?
Anyway, they set the opening scene with a pretty girl getting picked up by her other pretty friend and they in turn pick up their other pretty friends and head to school. At that point, I almost turned the movie off. The last thing I’m interested in is another 90’s rom-com about how an extra ordinarily attractive teenage girl is brokenhearted about her dream guy because…well, there’s never really an actual reason why.
But, surprisingly, the movie took a quick turn. The girls go to a party, terrorize a socially awkward student, and, after leaving the party, wreck their vehicle and die.
Snap to the next scene, the main character wakes up in her bed and discovers she’s gone back to the previous day and is reliving it all over again.
This continues, a real life Groundhog’s Day, day in and day out, reliving the same say until that night when they leave the party and are hit head on by a truck.
But, there’s a little more to the story than just a bad remake of a previously great movie. In fact, this movie, to my surprise, is all about death. It’s about coming to grips with your own mortality, what you should do while you’re alive because you never know when life can be snatched away from you.
The movie asks the question: What should we be doing with the time we have left? Should we terrorize people, consider ourselves only? Or, as the main character realizes, should we do things for others while we’re here?
The main character begins making changes in the day she’s reliving again and again. She breaks up with her boyfriend (whose a jerk), she makes up with her parents and her little sister, she makes things right with her best friends.
She even kisses the other boy, which I thought was a bit strange.
Death the End
But then she focuses on the awkward girl, discovers a few secrets, then realizes the girl is going to kill herself after the party.
In stopping the other girl, the main character discovers something about herself, discovers answers about life and dignity and finding purpose other than yourself or your own personal ambitions.
And, we hear this alot. If you have problems, if you’re depressed, then do something good for someone else and you’ll immediately start to feel better.
I don’t know. I just don’t buy it. I guess we could choose to be an agent of change on the earth while we’re here if we want to. I’m not certain it will do any good.
But, it’s the same as my argument that I would be willing to die tonight for someone else – for a kid who’s dying of cancer, for someone who’s in a bad auto accident but would have otherwise gone on to a great life. If I could trade with someone who was going to uselessly die (aren’t all deaths actually useless), so they could have a change at a better life – a better life than I could live certainly.
I would do it.
Missing Something but Still Okay
They say there is such a thing as a good death, and really what they mean by this is a death without pain. Good deaths are typically those surrounded by loved ones, where you were able to make peace with your maker and resolve old ills with others, and lay open your heart for what comes next.
But, most deaths are not good. In fact, I would argue no death is good in and of itself because it causes us to lose that which is important to us. We no longer can experience the best of life.
Most death is from illness. Then automobile accidents. Then suicide. Much like the TV show LOST, where the doctor is working through his actual death by inventing the entire show with all its characters in his mind the last moments before he succumbs to his wounds, this girl is reliving the last day of her life, trying to make sense of it, of her actions, of the actions of her friends.
When, in reality, it’s never like this. There’s never a point or purpose. Death is random and chaos and unforgiving.
If it must come, may it come swiftly and without such repetitions.
Until my next review….
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Excerpt from Our Daughter:
“Okay, mom,” Randy said.
“You behave yourself and be nice. You’re lucky to have company while you wait for the doctors.”
The woman turned and started back the way she came.
“The nurse said it would be twenty or thirty more minutes, so we’ll eat quick and be back up here before they take you in, okay?”
“Sorry for him,” the woman said to Katie as she walked by.
As the woman left, Katie noticed the boy moving around again on the bed. Before she realized what was happening, the tiny lump disappeared and she could hear the faint sound of bare hands and feet on the tile floor.
He was low crawling under the beds toward her.
A moment later, Randy popped his head out from under the nearest hospital bed, craning his neck around to look up at her.
“Hello, there,” Katie said.
Randy disappeared back under the bed, the bed sheet draping down almost to the floor. Katie could still see three little fingers pressed to the tile.
“What are you here for?” Katie asked, readjusting her seat in the chair, trying to get the ache in her chest to lessen.
For whatever reason, the wheelchair was really uncomfortable.
“Why are – ”
Randy’s voice trailed off for a moment as he looked around.
“Why are you here?”
“I’m getting my leg fixed,” Katie said. “See?”
Randy poked his head back out from under the bed and looked at the leg she was pointing to.
“What’s wrong with it?”
“The doctor said it’s broken,” Katie said. “Shattered.”
“Can you feel it?” Randy asked, able to stay out from his hiding place.
“I can feel it, but it’s not too bad,” Katie said, then tapped the IV in her arm. “This thing is giving me medicine of some kind for the pain. At least that’s what the nurses said.”
“Why are you – ”
Randy stopped mid-sentence.
He scooted out from under the bed entirely and slowly crept over to her on all fours.
“What are you, some kind of spider?” Katie asked, giggling a little.
“What are you?” Randy echoed.
He was now only about a foot away from her chair and sat there, his legs folded up under him, gawking up at her.
“What are you staring at me for?”
“I’ve never – ”
Randy put out a hesitant hand and ever so gently touched her arm.
“Are you some kind of ghost?”
He looked around again.
“Are you – ”
He leaned in, talking in a whisper.
“Are you dead?”
A nurse came around the corner and stopped abruptly, spotting the empty bed in the far corner where Randy should have been.
“Randy Andrews,” the nurse said, her hands now on her hips. “You get right back into the bed and you stop playing around, please. They are ready for you in surgery.”
Katie watched as Randy scrambled on all fours under the beds and back up onto his, pulling the sheet back over top of himself again.
She started to ask him about his question, but couldn’t get the words out before his parents appeared at the door.
Katie sat there quietly, watching Randy stare back at her from under his sheet. She glanced over at his parents and the nurse, noticed Randy’s dad had no hair on the top of his head.
Are you dead?
What kind of question was that?
The snap of the wheel locks being disengaged on Randy’s hospital bed jarred Katie out of the confusion she was in.
The doctor she’d first seen was now at the door, waiting for Randy.
He was his surgeon.
They wheeled Randy out of the room, his parents following right behind, disappearing to the left, heading for his operating room.
The pre-op room was empty again.
Are you dead?
What kind of crazy question was that?
The nurse came back through the double doors.
“It won’t be long now,” she said.
Katie tried not to think about the dull ache growing just behind her sternum.
The nurse disappeared around the corner as Katie watched the double doors to the operating rooms slowly shut.
Buy my book Our Daughter and begin the adventure of a lifetime, as you uncover the mysteries behind Katie Cadora’s new life after the horrible accident that stole her mother away from her. Will she find sure footing again? Will the pain ever stop? Will she discover the secrets her new foster family are keeping from her? Is the boy’s question right? Is Katie Cadora actually dead?
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But, trust me when I tell you, there are deceivers in our midsts! Get started in this bone chilling suspense novel right away and find out why….sometimes….you’re just better off DEAD!