Nearly a year after being cast, Dakota Fanning and Jeremy Irvine‘s “Now Is Good” screened this past week at Cannes Film Festival. One of our most anticipated films of 2012 and based on Jenny Downham’s novel “Before I Die”, the film follows 17 year old Tessa, a terminally ill teenage girl, and her desire to experience life to the fullest before she dies.
It’s a decent performance from Fanning, whose journey from child actress to movie star has been patchy. Fanning’s Tessa is played as mad at the world, unable to come to terms with her illness as she deals with an overbearing father and a mother who can’t deal with her daughter’s imminent death. Unfortunately for Fanning, she is hindered by a poor script which doesn’t allow us to feel any sympathy for Tessa.
Irvine impressed, especially after middling reviews last year for his feature film debut “War Horse.” He showed genuine emotion throughout, in particular during a fraught scene with Fanning as he admits that after losing his father, he may not be able to stay and watch as he loses her as well. Kaya Scodelario’s performance as Tessa’s wild child best friend Zoey is also disappointing following her impressive turn in Andrea Arnold’s “Wuthering Heights” last year, perhaps in part because Zoey seemed too similar to her well-known, fan-favorite “Skins” character Effy, something Scodelario could do well to stay away from, particularly when she is still trying to prove her range as an emerging actress.
It’s only the second feature film for director Ol Parker, whose first effort was “Imagine Me & You” back in 2005. Unfortunately, “Now Is Good” doesn’t do much to show Parker’s growth and promise. The film pieced together badly, with scenic shots of Brighton being used to portray a passage of time – straight out of film school – and doesn’t make the best use of its impressive cast, which also includes Brit stars Paddy Considine and Olivia Williams. This could have been an interesting adaptation, and a good re-introduction for Parker. Instead, “Now Is Good” is no more than an average, melodramatic, teen rom-com.