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Now is Good (DQ)


Stars: Dakota Fanning. Jeremy Irvine, Paddy Considine, Olivia Williams, Kaya Scodelario, Rose Leslie, Joe Cole, Sarah Hadland

Director: Ol Parker

Everyone cries buckets in this dying-girl weepie, and you may too, as it (and she) nears the end. Hollywood's Fanning looks amazingly like Carey Mulligan in this one, with her new, close-cropped ginger-blonde hair, called for by the scenario since she is quite quickly succumbing to leukemia.

Dad (Considine), who has Dakota and her younger brother with him, is separated from his wife (Williams in a fright wig) and has an edgy relationship with his 17-year-old daughter, who is drily bitter about her condition.

In true movie tradition, she has a list of things to do before she dies, one of which, naturally, is to lose her virginity. After one depressing attempt to do this, during which her best friend (Scodelario) is getting pregnant with another boy, she runs into the boy next door, he being tall and handsome Irvine from War Horse.

As the girl's terminal illness brings her parents closer together, the film soft-pedals the unpleasant side effects of the illness - apart from one horrifying nosebleed - on its way to a tear-soaked conclusion.

Fanning affects a relaxed English accent, the kind of thing we take for granted these days, but impressive nonetheless, as is her fully nuanced performance, with its sly smiles and sideways glances. That said, the first half of the film is a bit of a struggle, with little light and shade, although it does tend to get to you in the later stages, when you would be well advised to have a hankie discreetly tucked into a bag or pocket.

David Quinlan

UK 2012. UK Distributor: Warner Brothers (BBC/BFI). Colour by deluxe.
103 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 12A.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 1, Violence/Horror 0, Drugs 1, Swearing 1.

Review date: 16 Sep 2012