Now Is Good is a film based on the young adult book Before I Die by Jenny Downham. Tessa Scott is a 17 year old girl (played by Dakatoa Fanning) who is dying from Leukaemia after refusing further treatment. She has a bucket list of things she wants to experience before she dies. Things that 'normal' teenagers do such as losing her virginity, breaking the law and taking drugs. However, an unexpected romance turns out to be the biggest and most exhilarating experience of all.
I was expecting a bit of a sentimental weepy movie but was surprised at how gritty, sincere and moving it actually was. There was a realism to the story and to the characters that transcended the storytelling above the schmaltzy sad film that I was anticipating. It reminded me a bit of 'Skins' (especially as the girl who plays Effy in Skins plays Tessa's best friend in the film). The simple filming style has the feeling of a quality TV drama and the UK seaside setting strips it back, bringing the focus onto the scripting and the acting which are both excellent.
Tessa's dysfunctional family and the situations that arise are very true to life. The issues of raising a teenage daughter are explored, complicated by the fact that Tessa is dying. Her family copes with the fear and grief, each in their own way, while Tessa makes the most of the time she has left. When she meets Adam, the boy next door, Tessa's life changes and although she is dying she feels alive. Dakota Fanning and Jeremy Irvine play the bittersweet love story so well. They give assured, mature performances and the chemistry between them is authentic.
This heartfelt and inspired adaptation had us laughing and crying as we shared the final weeks of Tessa's life. The story was beautifully told and utterly heart-wrenching. But rather than it being depressing, it celebrated life, reminding us to live every moment and love every minute. We all cried real tears and the film stayed with us long after the credits rolled.
Now Is Good (Certificate 12) is released on DVD on January 21st 2013 from all good stockists.