I sometimes wonder whether there are any stories out there we haven’t heard or seen already, because everything nowadays seems to be a book adaptation or a retelling of a different story. Now Is Good just happens to be both of those things. It has been adapted by writer/director Ol Parker from the book Before I Die, the plot of which is somewhat similar to films like Love Story and A Walk To Remember.
17 year old Tessa (Dakota Fanning) has leukaemia, and has recently decided to stop treatment, and just live the life she has left to its fullest. To do so, she makes a list of all the things she wants to do before she dies, such as take drugs, break the law, and have sex. However the one thing not on her list ends up happening – she falls in love with the boy next door, Adam (Jeremy Irvine).
The story of young love between a boy and a sick girl has been done before, and done well. I don’t know much at all about the source material, so I can’t comment on the author’s intentions but as a film, we didn’t need the moody British teenager version of it. I’m not saying its a bad film, actually it’s quite decent and well directed, but it’s not filling any void. It was Ol Parker’s decision to set it in Brighton (the book, apparently isn’t specific about where it is set), and it makes for a lovely setting.
Dakota Fanning has a British accent in this. It starts out sounding a bit odd, and it doesn’t get better. Everyone else in the film is British and has natural sounding accents, though not as if they were actually from Brighton. I dont know if her accent distracted me, or was too much effort for her, but it effected her performance for me. Dying characters tend to get some sympathy from me (and often tears), but Tessa didn’t get to me in that way. Paddy Considine as her father did, and he’s the only one I managed to feel bad for. He’s the cancer-obsessed parent, constantly looking for something that might cure her, or help her, but there isn’t an answer. Olivia Williams plays her mother, and as a parent is the complete opposite, which as its own character works, but the contrast between the two parents comes across a bit contrived.
There’s nothing I can really say that I disliked about Now Is Good, but there isn’t much I can recommend about it either, apart from Considine and Irvine’s performances. But even the character of Adam, it seemed to perfect for the perfect boy to be just next door. This may sound a bit cynical, but it’s like watching someone’s fantasy of life if they have cancer. It works out all a little too well. I can’t really give anyone a reason to pick seeing Now Is Good over something else.