Australian Council on Children and the Media

Before I fall

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Not recommended under 14, parental guidance recommended 14-15 due to disturbing themes and coarse language.

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for Before I fall
  • a review of Before I fall completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 7 March 2017.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 14 Not recommended due to disturbing themes and coarse language
Children 14-15 parental guidance recommended due to disturbing themes
Viewers 15 and over OK for this age group

About the movie

This section contains details about the movie, including its classification by the Australian Government Classification Board and the associated consumer advice lines.

Name of movie: Before I fall
Classification: M
Consumer advice lines: Mature themes and coarse language.
Length 99 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

Before I Fall is a film based on Lauren Oliver’s young adult novel of the same name. It begins as 17-year-old protagonist Samantha Kingston (Zoey Deutch) is killed in a fatal car accident as she and a friend are driving home from a party. When she awakens the following morning with vivid memories of the incident, the high school senior soon begins to realise that she appears to be re-living the last day of her life over and over again. Although initially unsure as to why, Sam comes to understand that she is stuck in the loop until she adjusts her actions and determines what choices she needs to change.

Themesinfo

Children and adolescents may react adversely at different ages to themes of crime, suicide, drug and alcohol dependence, death, serious illness, family breakdown, death or separation from a parent, animal distress or cruelty to animals, children as victims, natural disasters and racism. Occasionally reviews may also signal themes that some parents may simply wish to know about.

Death; suicide; personal growth; redemption; bullying

Use of violenceinfo

Research shows that children are at risk of learning that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution when violence is glamourised, performed by an attractive hero, successful, has few real life consequences, is set in a comic context and / or is mostly perpetrated by male characters with female victims, or by one race against another.

Repeated exposure to violent content can reinforce the message that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution. Repeated exposure also increases the risks that children will become desensitised to the use of violence in real life or develop an exaggerated view about the prevalence and likelihood of violence in their own world.

There is some violence in the film, including:

  • A character commits suicide by running in front of a car (this occurs in an alternative version of reality).
  • Bullying is shown occurring between teenage characters. Behaviours include pushing and throwing things.

Material that may scare or disturb children

Under fiveinfo

Children under five are most likely to be frightened by scary visual images, such as monsters, physical transformations.

In addition to the above-mentioned violent scenes, there are some scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb children under the age of five, including the following:

  • There is a fatal car accident in which Sam apparently dies and the car is shown rolling

Aged five to eightinfo

Children aged five to eight will also be frightened by scary visual images and will also be disturbed by depictions of the death of a parent, a child abandoned or separated from parents, children or animals being hurt or threatened and / or natural disasters.

Children in this age group are likely to be disturbed or confused by the plot featuring a girl living a day over and over again after apparently dying.

Aged eight to thirteeninfo

Children aged eight to thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic threats and dangers, violence or threat of violence and / or stories in which children are hurt or threatened.

Children in this age group may also be disturbed by the film’s themes

Over thirteeninfo

Children over the age of thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic physical harm or threats, molestation or sexual assault and / or threats from aliens or the occult.

Younger viewers in this age group may also be disturbed by the film’s themes

Product placement

The following products are displayed or used in this movie:

  • Apple products, such as iPhones and Macbook computers

Sexual references

There are mild sexual references, including:

  • References to wearing protection whilst having sex, including statements such as ‘no glove, no love’ in regards to the use of condoms.
  • There is flirtation between characters.
  • The film contains discussions regarding losing one’s virginity

Nudity and sexual activity

There is some partial nudity and sexual activity in this movie, including:

  • Many teenage characters kiss at a party, as well as in the lunch room at school.
  • There is one scene involving sex, where a young couple are seen in bed together only half-dressed.
  • One female character exposes her bra to several others, although this is done in a comedic manner as opposed to a sexualised one.

Use of substances

There is some use of substances in this movie, including:

  • Teenagers drink at a party while their parents are out of town. One character becomes intoxicated and throws up as a result of having drunk a significant amount. The same party features several times.

Coarse language

There is coarse language in this movie, including:

  • ‘fuck/fucking’; ‘shit’; ‘hell’; ‘oh my god’
  • derogatory phrases or insults: ‘bitch’, ‘asshole’, ‘dyke’, ‘sociopath’

In a nutshell

Before I fall is a film based on a young adult novel that depicts a journey of personal growth and development. Over the course of the movie, as she moves through the five stages of grief, Sam begins to readjust her priorities and discovers that the things she previously valued hold far less significance than she once thought. As a popular high school student from a wealthy family, she initially feels a sense of privileged entitlement above the social misfits in her class. However, this gradually shifts as she goes through a process of acceptance that permanently changes her, and the person she strives to be.

The film’s themes and coarse language make it most suited to older teens. It is not recommended for viewers under 14 and parental guidance is recommended for 14 to 15 year olds.

As well as the film’s main themes, parents may wish to discuss the consequences of bullying and the dangers involved in the risky behaviours shown in the film.

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