'Midnight Sun' review: Vanilla with a scoop of ennui

Updated - April 16, 2018 04:59 pm IST

Published - April 06, 2018 07:43 pm IST



If Midnight Sun had to release in the 90s — a decade to which it belongs — it wouldn’t have held a candle to the likes of She’s All That and Drive Me Crazy . Director Scott Peer takes the tragic romance trope a la A Walk to Remember or The Fault in Our Stars , and firmly fits into an obsolete mould, where a popular jock (in this case swimmer) falls for the awkward, virginal (in this case musician) girl.

Director: Scott Peer

Cast: Bella Thorne, Patrick Schwarzenegger

Storyline: When two teens fall in love, fate in the form of a rare disease has other plans for them

Our lovers are Katie (Bella Thorne) and Charlie (Patrick Schwarzenegger) who make a great couple on screen, in that they both have perpetual vacant dead eyes and limited acting abilities. Katie is afflicted with xeroderma pigmentosum (XP), an intolerance to ultra violet light that renders neurodegeneration when exposed to the sun. Whether she’s freaking out about meeting the object of her lust and affection, playing a soulful (read mediocre) song on her guitar or received some horrific news, Thorne remains stoic. Same goes for Schwarzenegger who’s equally at unease when being hit on by the supposedly hottest and meanest girl in school or tearing up during a break up scene. The two are so uni-dimensional and vanilla that there’s nothing beyond their definitive character traits. It’s a feat that’s exacerbated thanks to tedious dialogues that try but cannot be youthful.

Peer’s skills cannot alleviate this tired script. There’s a particularly hilarious scene where Katie has stayed out too late and must escape the consequent but inevitable sunrise. What should have been serious becomes a parody with ominous music set against the dawn’s orange sunlight turning murderous. Midnight Sun plays out like an unenthusiastic rehearsal to a read deal that never arrives. There’s really no gentle way to say this. Teen romances are supposed to ignite sparks and nostalgia not hurt your eyes from excessive rolling.

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