For most of us, high school can feel like the world is ending. For Sadie Mitchell (Morgan Taylor Campbell), it actually is. Sadie has created a check-list of things to master before the predicted doomsday, and she has just two weeks to complete it. Sadie needs to master survivalist cuisine, learn to sew, and a few personal things; go to a high school party, kiss a boy, and most importantly, get her best friend back.
If you didn’t already know, I’m Canadian so in a heavy American-ized film landscape, it’s nice when a Canadian film comes along in one of the big chains. I was lucky to see it since the city where I live (Ottawa) happens to be one of the four cities in Canada in which the film has been released so far (the others are Toronto, Whitby, and Winnipeg). Canadian films aren’t usually blessed with large budgets so they often must rely on stories and characters and that was pretty much the case here.
To enjoy most eccentric teen films, one most overlook their contrivances. Sadie suffers from anxiety which was aggravated by doing a school project about doomsday prophecies. Ever since then, she has become convinced that the world is ending. In order to cope, she has aggressively prepared herself and made a checklist of all the remaining things she has to do until the world ends. Her parents, Grace (Helene Joy) and Rodger (Peter Keleghan), enable this behavior and are either oblivious and/or indifferent to her. She is also ridiculed at school and her behavior has also caused a rift between her and her best friend Brennan (Clark Backo).
They were fun to watch together but their relationship wasn’t the strongest of the film. Sadie and Brennan were best friends from a young age. Brennan was the more adventurous of the two and would often bring it out the best in her. Over time, her adventurous side started to disappear as she began to take less chances with her everyday life because of her general paranoia. This paranoia manifested itself as dreams and hallucinations and were triggered by innocent occurrences.
The other part of Sadie’s life was her final touches in getting ready for the supposed apocalypse by completing the last few items on her checklist. There were some of the usual things like learning to cook, learning to sew, and there were still some normal high school stuff like going to a party, kissing a boy, and getting Brennan back. In doing so, she met a boy named Jack (Ricardo Hoyos). This is when the film becomes more of a coming of age story for Sadie as she and Jack quickly become close as he devoted himself to helping her with her list and they taught each other about the true meaning of life.
Refusing to fully live her life, believing the world is coming to an end, he helps her get her life back together and to see that life is worth living. Sadie and Jack had better chemistry than Sadie and Brennan since their relationship was more developed. They were fun to watch together as well. As they got closer to the supposed end of the world, she learned to not shut people out and not let her beliefs get in the way of her relationships with her family and friends.
The acting is good from Campbell who is compelling to watch as the lead, conveying Sadie’s anxiety and insecurities. She was genuine, believing strongly in her beliefs but never feeling out there as a character. She had good chemistry with Backo and Hoyos which made her relationships with Brennan and Jack feel reel. Backo was okay as Brennan but she didn’t really have much to do because of her underdeveloped relationship with Sadie. They were friends and then they weren’t and then they were friends again without much happening in that middle. Hoyos was good as Jack in acting as more of a counter-balance to Sadie.
Overall, this was a good teenage film, taking the coming of age story in a different direction, and featuring interesting characters.
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