On the surface, the new movie Before I Fall might seem a bit familiar. After all, the plot revolves around the main character being forced to relive the same day over and over again, learning something new each time. Yet Before I Fall is no Groundhog Day remake — as director Ry Russo-Young tells me in the video below, her high school-set thriller is darker, creepier, and (yes, even with that twist) more realistic than the classic '93 comedy.
"It uses the plot device of Groundhog Day, which is the time loop thing that other films do, like Source Code or Edge of Tomorrow, it's sort of a familiar plot device — but... in a teenage angst, darker type of high school movie," Russo-Young explains. "But then it also uses it to very emotional ends. The movie is not a comedy like Groundhog Day. It is a drama."
That's for sure; as trailers for Before I Fall make clear, this is no lighthearted high school romp. Instead, it's a serious, honest look at what those four years can be like for teenage girls when it comes to friendship, romance, parties, and more. "When I read the script, it really reminded me of my own female friendships growing up, in high school specifically. because high school is this really unique time where you leave your parents and you enter your peer group, and your peer group is very high stakes," Russo-Young says. "They're kind of a whole new world for you, and there's an intimacy there to those relationships... so I felt that in the script, and I really wanted to bring that to screen in a way that felt truthful."
Thanks in part to a talented ensemble cast that includes Zoey Deutch and Halston Sage, Russo-Young certainly succeeds in this task; the complicated female-friendship dynamics in Before I Fall (out Mar. 3) will likely feel familiar to any woman who's made it through high school. Yet the movie's focus on teen girls makes it an anomaly in Hollywood, where, as we all know, female-led films are all too rare. In the video above, Russo-Young discusses (with some help from cupcakes) the uniqueness of a movie like Before I Fall existing in male-dominated Hollywood and the problems women in the industry working as actors, directors, producers and more face all too often.
Hopefully, Before I Fall's success will encourage more female-led films to be made — and more women working behind-the-scenes to follow in the footsteps of Russo-Young and her peers.