Adapted to screen from the critically acclaimed novel ‘Before I Die’ (written by author Jenny Downham), it is in association with both BBC Films and Blueprint Pictures, and is told through the eyes of a young girl named Tessa.
Played by Fanning in the brand new film, Tessa is instantly introduced as a sufferer of leukaemia. After stopping her treatment, as it is beginning to slow her down, Tessa writes a ‘bucket list’ of things she would like to accomplish “before dying” and turns to best friend Zoey, played by Kaya Scodelario (Skins, Wuthering Heights, Clash of The Titans), to help her achieve these. Whilst Zoey is there for Tessa and behind her in ‘ticking off’ items on the list, she is portrayed from the very beginning as a loose cannon with perhaps an issue or two to deal with herself.
As the film progresses, Tessa meets her next-door neighbour, the incredibly handsome Adam, played by Jeremy Irvine (War Horse). The two instantly take a shine to one another, and as Tessa’s perception of her initial ‘bucket list’ begins to change, their developing relationship and the emotions it brings becomes a lens into both of their positions as a young person with a fatal illness and someone very close to them.
A fantastic supporting cast comes in the form of Tessa’s family, made up of her protective and very emotional father (Paddy Considine), her mother (Olivia Williams), who begins to avoid becoming involved in the process of Tessa’s treatment and her younger brother Cal (Edgar Canham), who’s young age brings a sharp and very honest angle to Tessa’s on-going battle and journey.
In short – I cannot remember the last time I watched a film that was as powerful, poignant and relevant as ‘Now Is Good’. There was not a single person sat around in the seats who did not appear affected by it, as it was as heart-warming as it was heart-breaking, with some very sharp and well written moments of comedy by Ol Parker – which, whilst tasteful, also made Tessa’s experience and the emotions of those around her so much real.
For those of you who have not read the book or seen a preview screening of this film adaptation, I won’t give away the ending, but will simply urge you to watch this film. Dakota Fanning has taken on yet another incredibly intense role and has nailed it, whilst Ol has managed to adapt a written story into a visual masterpiece, which will both inspire you and test many of your different emotions. With a script to match, you feel incredibly close to all of the characters whom are close to Tessa, and are concerned for them all in different ways.