“Our life is a series of moments. Let them go. Moments, all gathering towards the one.” Director Ol Parker’s (The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel) latest film ‘Now is Good’ is based on Jenny Downham’s critically acclaimed debut novel, ‘Before I Die.’ This compelling film was just released on DVD this month. If you enjoy Nicholas Sparks movies, you’ll definitely want to catch this tear-jerker. Fair warning, have a box of Kleenex at arm’s length. Parker knows how to tug at an audience’s heartstrings. The story is upbeat as well as tragic in its unfortunate consequence.
Diagnosed with terminal cancer, 17-year-old Brit Tessa (Dakota Fanning) is determined to live life to its fullest. This includes making a “Bucket List” written on her bedroom wall of all the things she wants to experience before she dies. At this juncture, you might be saying, this is one depressing plot. Without question, it is dire. However, Fanning’s performance is so good; you cannot help but root for her to fulfill her wish list. At no point does the story feel cheesy in anyway. Fanning’s British accent is perfect. The story is set in the picturesque seaside town of Brighton, England. The wide angle cinematography is breathtaking.
Tessa’s father (Paddy Considine) is in denial and clings to any hope that there might be some miracle cure available. Considine’s performance is heartfelt and convincing. Tessa’s flighty mother (Olivia Williams) deals with her daughter’s illness through a wine glass. Her parents are far from perfect and their awkwardness gives the story authenticity. Tessa’s party girl best friend Zoey (Kaya Scodelario) is there to nudge her along to tick off items from her bucket list such as losing her virginity and going shoplifting. The two girls complement each other. Zoey is the wild one and Tessa is angelic with a mischievous side wanting to come out.
There is a scene early in the film where Tessa and a boy are sitting on his bed. It is a thoughtful scene due to the fact that Tessa knows he isn’t the right boy to take her virginity. Later in the story, Tessa meets the good-looking boy next door Adam (Jeremy Irvine). Things look promising as Tessa gets to know him. Understandably, Tessa’s father is apprehensive that Adam is not up to the challenge of handling his daughter’s terminal illness. Irvine who was in Steven Spielberg’s film, ‘War Horse’ is a talented young actor. Fanning and Irvine have excellent chemistry together and you believe these two could be in a serious relationship.
Parker does a good job showing these two young lovers having beautiful moments together. They both get something out of the relationship too. Tessa gets to feel what it is like falling in love with a boyfriend and Adam who is still hurting from his father’s death, learns from Tess how to find the courage to move on with his life. Fanning gives a compelling performance. She is maturing into a fine adult actress. ‘Now is Good’ is worth seeking on DVD. It brilliantly shows how fragile life is and ultimately says to us why wait for a terminal illness to live your life to its fullest. ‘Now is Good’ is available on Amazon, Netflix and VOD.
Don’t forget to check out Ellie Goulding’s beautiful song, “I Know You Care” music video. She wrote it specifically for this film.