Review by Darryl Griffiths

After penning the script for this year’s surprise British hit ‘The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel’ which was packed to the brim with national treasures, it’s perhaps inevitable that Ol Parker turns back to perfecting the art of directing. Retitled for the cinematic massive, he tackles here a sensitive subject matter using Jenny Downham’s acclaimed novel of ‘Before I Die’ as inspiration.

Dakota Fanning graces UK shores, complete with a convincing accent as she undertakes the role of Tessa. Average 17 year olds should have the world at their feet. Unfortunately for her, she’s coming to terms with being diagnosed with terminal leukaemia. Opting against further treatment to the dismay of her concerned and overprotective dad (Paddy Considine) and distant mother (Olivia Williams), she refuses to play the stereotypical ‘sick victim’ and aims to live life to the full.

Privately assembling a bucket list together, her partner in crime Zoey (Kaya Scodelario) offers assistance in completing such a colourful range of wishes. What Tessa certainly doesn’t bargain for, is falling head over heels for the youthful guy living next door. Played by War Horse’s Jeremy Irvine, Adam proves to be the ideal support as their love blossoms despite the difficult scenario.

Refusing to associate itself with the Hollywood like schmaltz that is normally sprinkled on such stories, Now Is Good is all the more involving for it. Whilst initially unsure in its footing early on, director Parker opts for melancholia with an uplift and overall succeeds. The potentially edgy ’bucket list’ premise is dialled down a touch to compensate for its 12A rating, but is still able to provide some genuinely uplifting moments to balance out the inevitable emotional wallop.

Keeping it refreshingly low-key, Fanning once again impresses with a nuanced performance and her charming albeit short lived romance with eye candy Irvine thoroughly engages. Although the younger contingent of the cast are terrific, Paddy Considine’s star shines brightest here. Perfectly encapsulating the fears and stresses of losing his beloved daughter, he proves once again why he’s one of Britain’s most respected actors.

Sure, it’s a few visual flourishes away from being better suited as a BBC feature length drama than the big screen and certain plotlines are rather underdeveloped. But such imperfections aside, ‘Now Is Good’ is a well acted and involving film that’s bound to push your emotional buttons.

Source: Movie Marker

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