Review: Now Is Good – Ol Parker

Whilst sitting in on BBC Films interview being filmed with Ol Parker, he said the most satisfying audience of Now Is Good are the ones who say This is just gonna suck and then come with their faces streaked in tears.

Well, it’s definitely true. From the poster and premise, Now Is Good looks like it has all the emotional weight of the last teenage rom-com, but that’s just a false sense of security.

Set amongst the quirky streets of Brighton, Now Is Good tells the story of Tessa (Dakota Fanning), a 17-year-old girl with terminal leukaemia. With the clock now ticking on her life, Tessa does what all teenage girls have done: writes a sex-drugs-and-rock-‘n’-roll style Things To-Do Before I Die list.

By some unprecedented stroke of luck, the lushly sensitive Adam (Jeremy Irvine) moves in next door. Despite some trepidation, Adam cannot help but fall for Tessa – and though various romantic scenes ensue, her disease continues to lurch back at the most unexpected moments. Each of these moments draws a sterling performance from Paddy Considine, who rides in the wings of fatherly protection as he tries to fend off both the leukaemia and Adam to no avail.

On the side of criticism, the film certainly flirts with death in a way which is perhaps somewhat removed from the reality of living with a terminal illness. However, it is undeniable that the director has achieved something quite rare – an indiewood mix between the arty and the mainstream in a British film.

All the familiar teenage hopes and dreams which we had ourselves as youngsters are housed in a single character, and it is because Tessa is so relatable that the tears naturally come careering out.

 

Now Is Good, dir. Ol Parker (2012, UK)

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