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“Before The Fall” (2016) is a creative reimagining of Jane Austen’s beloved classic, “Pride and Prejudice,” with a modern twist that explores themes of love, prejudice, and self-discovery in a new light. While the film brings fresh elements to the table, it also faces challenges in adapting a timeless story for a contemporary audience.
The film introduces us to Ben Bennett (Ethan Sharrett), a successful lawyer in a quiet Virginia town. Ben is a charismatic, lovelorn individual who navigates his way through life with his circle of friends. His world takes an unexpected turn when he crosses paths with Lee Darcy (Chase Conner), a rugged welder who has been wrongly accused of domestic abuse. Their initial encounter is marked by misunderstanding and tension, setting the stage for a complex and evolving relationship.
One of the film’s most notable departures from Austen’s original work is its choice to reconfigure Elizabeth Bennet into Ben Bennett, making this adaptation a gay romance. This change offers a unique perspective on the classic story, exploring issues related to homophobia and self-identity. It’s a commendable effort to breathe new life into a familiar narrative, highlighting the universality of love and the challenges of societal prejudices.
The setting of Abingdon, Virginia, adds a picturesque backdrop to the unfolding drama, and the film takes advantage of its beautiful location, capturing the essence of rural life. However, the film does face some challenges in maintaining the same level of wit and charm found in Austen’s work. The character transformations and plot deviations may leave some viewers feeling that the chemistry and dynamics between the leads are not as compelling as in the original story.
“Before The Fall” excises several characters and plot elements from Austen’s novel, which alters the overall narrative structure. While some of these changes work well in the context of the film, others feel forced or underdeveloped. The legal subplot, which becomes a central focus, introduces low-stakes drama that does not fully engage the audience.
One of the film’s strengths lies in its portrayal of Lee Darcy’s inner struggle with his sexuality. Chase Conner delivers a convincing performance, bringing depth to his character’s journey of self-discovery. This aspect of the film is both heartfelt and thought-provoking, offering a meaningful exploration of identity and acceptance.
In conclusion, “Before The Fall” deserves recognition for its attempt to reinvent a classic story and tackle important themes related to love and prejudice in a contemporary context. While it may not achieve the same level of wit and chemistry as the source material, it offers a fresh perspective and moments of emotional depth. It’s a film that, despite its flaws, provides an intriguing reimagining of a beloved classic.
Overall, “Before The Fall” is a worthwhile watch for those interested in adaptations that challenge the boundaries of traditional storytelling, and it offers a reminder that love and acceptance can transcend societal prejudices.