Director: Ol Parker
Starring: Dakota Fanning, Jeremy Irving, Paddy Considine, Olivia Williams, Kaya Scodelario.
Written by: Ol Parker and (based on the naovel by) Jenny Downham.
Running Time: 103 mins
Release date: 19th September 2012
Some films you go into and haven’t a clue what they are, what will happen and how they will make you feel. Others you know exactly what to expect before the lights go down. Now Is Good falls into the latter category. This is a film that might as well have a disclaimer at the beginning saying “You will cry!”
The premise is quite simple. Tessa is an 18 year old girl who has leukemia. Refusing to have anymore treatment, she creates her own bucket list, that of a teenage girl. Her father, separated and having to face her impending doom, is at his wits end with her rebellious attitude. Her mother, on the other hand, is flaky and tries to hide her fears. Meanwhile, Tessa, who is still a virgin, wants to have sex but with an element of love. Enter handsome next door neighbour, Adam. He starts to show her a new life but can the inevitable shortness of Tessa’s life cause a rift in what should be beautiful.
Being a harden cynic, I prepared myself for the over pouring of emotion, and while its all handled well, it still is a film so full of sentiment that only exists to make you weep. For me, that isn’t enough to make it a strong movie experience. Writer director Ol Parker makes the film look good and draws some nice performances out of his cast but if you found Love Story a sickening manipulative film, then best stay away.
As the dying girl, Dakota Fanning has managed to cross over from child star to adulthood well. Sporting a near perfect British actress, she fits the role well and you do emote with her plight, especially in the early stages. My only quibble is the choice. Surely there is an English actress just as good to take on the role. Good looking Jeremy Irving will have the young women in the audience swooning and while he is appropriately sympathetic, this is a fairly one-dimensional role.
It is up to the parents to steal the film and you couldn’t get any better than Paddy Considine and Olivia Williams. Considine, one of this countries finest, delivers the most sympathetic performance. You really feel his pain and anguish as he seems to be losing his little girl not only to the illness but to the young man next door. Williams brings some light relief as the mother without any real mothering skills, although with her scraggly blonde hair, I did hear someone at the screening I attended questioning her sexuality.
From the amount of sniffing and sobbing surrounding me, this seemed to be a success from the more emotional of the audience. For me, it was fine but didn’t blow me away. Shame really as I wanted to say “Now is Good is good.” Instead I can only say, Now is Good is OK.