Midnight Sun is a mawkish romantic teen flick that may well be a hit amongst the more uncynical crowd. Naturally, that doesn’t include us – for we found this film to be contrived, cliched and tedious, as this Scott Speer production qualifies for our ‘We Watched it So You Don’t Have To‘ feature. Sorry, Scott. This remake of the 2006 Japanese movie with the same name, is about a young girl called Katie (Bella Thorne) who is suffering from a rare skin disease that means she could be killed if she is exposed to natural sunlight. Living at home with her father (Rob Riggle) having lost her mother at a young age, she becomes transfixed with the boy next door, the brooding swimmer Charlie (Patrick Schwarzenegger).
Of course they’ve never met, but when she heads out at night to busk at the train station, they meet for the first time and, naturally, love is in the air. There are so many aspects to this film that annoyed us, and to honest it seems a little pedantic to point them out – but all of the small, saccharine elements, the contrived narrative devices and absurd sub-storylines all add together to make for a rather unenjoyable cinematic experience. There’s no one thing we could truly say we didn’t like about this film, it’s just a collection of annoyances that got under our skin.
I mean, just take Katie’s fledging music career. As previously mentioned, she busks. And crowds form, and people listen to her stuff, and suddenly she winds up in a recording studio. Two things: firstly, the music is rubbish. Secondly, these things don’t happen. There is a man at the London Underground station Tottenham Court Road and he plays the guitar WITH NO ARMS. People just walk by, so few who listen, so few who care. Yet 17-year-old introvert Katie takes her mum’s old guitar to the tube station late at night and crowds form. As if. (Sorry, we did say we were feeling cynical).
On the plus side, the narrative does take the occasional unexpected turn, subverting the material somewhat. Plus, the performances are mostly okay. Bella Thorne is fine. Rob Riggle actually does quite well in a rare, dramatic turn – and Patrick Schwarzenegger seems to have already mastered the ‘misunderstood jock’ role that should serve him well in Hollywood (his family connections may help, too). But it’s still a film to avoid.
In fact, if you saw Everything, Everything when it was released last year, then you’ve basically seen Midnight Sun already. Seriously, the Stella Meghie production was almost identical, in a quite striking way. It was about a young, attractive teenage girl who is not allowed to be exposed to the outside as it may kill her. Check. She then falls for her young, attractive next door neighbour, who seems cool and confident on the outside but is actually going through some problems of his own. Check. They fall in love despite knowing their relationship would have to be completely unconventional, and, for the most part, restricted to being indoors. Check. It’s a underwhelming movie that annoyed us. Check.
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