It’s hard to believe that Dakota Fanning is only 18-years of age, as she has such a back-catalogue of hit movies over the last 13 years. Her resumé would make most actors, including her Now is Good co-star Jeremy Irvine, pale in comparison, with films like War of the Worlds, Man on Fire, The Runways and a role in the Twilight saga under her belt. She is one of the few child stars who is making the transition to adult star with ease. Macauley Culkin? Who?
Now is Good, which has been adapted from Jenny Downham's 2007 novel Before I Die, is the first time we really see Fanning take on starring role in a romantic-drama. She plays 17-year-old Tessa who, four years earlier, was diagnosed with terminal leukaemia and who has decided she doesn’t want to spend her last moments on earth wallowing in her own self pity. Instead she wants to live life to its fullest. With the help of her best friend Zoey (Kaya Scodelario) she ticks things off her bucket list which includes sex, drugs and getting arrested - it most definitely doesn’t mention anything about falling in love.
However, that she does, to her rather hunky next-door-neighbour Adam (Jeremy Irvine). The couple embark of a dream-like journey of life experiences which will make you both laugh and cry. What stops this movie from being too sappy though is Tessa’s sassiness, she is definitely not a woe-is-me kind of girl and in fact can’t handle the emotions and watchful eye of her dad, played wonderfully by Paddy Considine.
And while Dad is trying too hard, her mum played by Olivia Williams really can’t cope with the whole death thing and has pretty much taken a step away from her daughter’s life. Williams is fantastic in this role, despite her strange hairdo, and really steals the scenes when her character finally faces up to what is happening to Tessa.
What’s great about this movie is that it really doesn’t put a Hollywood spin on the story. The characters act as though you would imagine anyone going through this sort of situation would. It would have been very easy for director to focus on, as Tessa puts it, “the whole dying girl thing”, but it feels really real – well apart from some very touching, if illegal, pieces of artwork. It, for the most part, tells a human story.
From the word go you know what is going to happen in the end of the movie, and yes, it is every bit the tear-jerker you imagine it to be. So be warned, bring tissues, don’t go on a first date, and waterproof mascara is a must.