Now Is Good

Now Is Good


Reviewed by: Amber Wilkinson

This latest directorial outing by Ol Parker has a veneer of cancer but it's the wish-fulfilment teenage romance at its heart that is most likely to appeal to its target audience. Terminal leukaemia here is more of a concept than a disease, taking its toll mentally, perhaps, but leaving its victim virtually physically untouched. Dakota Fanning's Tessa may sport an almost fashionably consumptive look from the outset but, with the exception of a spectacular nosebleed, she simply slips gently - and infintessimally slowly - into that good night.

Despite this, Fanning is, as always, excellent. Her English accent, though clipped, holds water and Parker's scripting, based on the young adult novel Before I Die by Jenny Downham, is engaging in early scenes, where Tessa's acidic approach to her imminent death is most evident. In a bid to avoid being a victim, she creates a sort of kick-the-bucket list, featuring less than wholesome activities such as having sex, breaking the law and trying drugs.

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Her over-protective dad (Paddy Considine) just wants to wrap her in cotton wool, while her errant mum (Olivia Williams) gets all the best one-liners, such as her advice to Tessa: "Don't have casual sex... you must always try as hard as you can."

Once the Adonis-like Adam (Jerermy Irvine, who has bulked up considerably since War Horse) enters the picture, however, Parker turns the whole thing into a boot camp for tearducts, with his foot firmly on the manipulation throttle - think dusk bike rides and wild horses cantering through fields. Adam, having already suffered loss, is the sort of saintly individual rarely found outside of the pages of teen fiction - and yet Irvine gives him an ungainliness and a lack of certainty that make him believable.

As with his previous screenplay, Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, Parker is at his best when portraying women. Tessa, her mum, best pal Zoey (Kaya Scodelario) and even Adam's mother feel more multi-dimensional than Adam, and Tessa's dad. And where director John Madden was able to keep a level of hurly burly to offset the more overcooked elements of Marigold's script, here, left to his own devices, Parker has a tendency to wallow too long in the moment. Tears will, undoubtedly, flow but Parker needs to learn to trust his audience more. We can catch and enjoy his drift without having our noses rubbed in it.

Reviewed on: 20 Sep 2012
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Now Is Good packshot
A teenage leukaemia sufferer embarks on romance and a bucket list.
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Director: Ol Parker

Writer: Ol Parker, based on the novel by Jenny Downham

Starring: Dakota Fanning, Jeremy Irvine, Paddy Considine, Kaya Scodelario, Olivia Williams

Year: 2012

Runtime: 103 minutes

BBFC: 12 - Age Restricted

Country: UK


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