Midnight Sun Movie Review
The problem with Midnight Sun is that we never really get fond of the characters because nothing really rings true
Cast: Bella Thorne, Patrick Schwarzenegger, Quinn Shephard, Ken Tremblett, Suleka Mathew, Rob Riggle, Jenn Griffin, Nicholas Coombe, Tiera Skovbye, Paul McGillion
Director: Scott Speer
Writer: Eric Kirsten
Xeroderma pigmentosum doesn't even sound life-threatening. But it is. A one-in-a-million skin ailment that makes exposure to the sun's rays potentially deadly, this disease has our young heroine Katie Price (Bella Thorne) restricted within the artificially lit confines of her home during the day- and it's only at night-time that she gets to go out for a bit and do her thing. And one fine night, she bumps into the handsome swimming champion Charlie (Patrick Schwarzenegger) and love strikes.
The couple look good together but there's very little chemistry here. Being photogenic alone doesn't augment conviction. We already know that it's a star-crossed affair and there's very little time before the heroine gasps her last breath. It's a high-school weepie aiming for a Love Story or The Fault with the stars or even Everything, Everything effect, but it falls way short. Director Scott Speer's film is actually based on a 2006 Japanese film Song to the Sun and has some inventive moments but they all come across as schmaltzy and melodramatic because we already know about her disease before Katie meets Charlie. The script from Eric Kirsten doesn't allow for the audience to be in suspense. But the ploy to garner sympathy for the heroine doesn't work to the intended extent because it's poor Charlie who is deliberately kept in the dark.
Most of the frames are shot in moonlight or indoors and that gives the film a wondrous glow that draws you in. The short runtime is also a great leveller. The director conveniently avoids scenes shadowing Katie's deterioration, as the disease takes thrust. It's all kept so pretty and sweet that you'd wonder how she could have died without so much as a groan. The intent here is to deliver a clean-cut tear jerker targeted at the pre-teen audience fed on Cindrella and Twilight. The problem here is that we never really get fond of the characters because nothing really rings true. Rob Riggle as Katie's good-humored, devoted widower father Jack doesn't seem much at ease here. Bella and Patrick are just about passable in their respective onscreen personas while Quinn Shepard as Morgan, Katie's best friend is the only one who makes the narrative perk-up for a bit.
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