"Light Teenage Romance with Some Positive Values"
MIDNIGHT SUN is a classic young adult romance. It tells the story of a 17-year-old girl, who since childhood has had a deadly disease called Xeroderma Pigmentosum or, as it’s referred to in the movie, XP. Those who have XP have an extreme sensitivity to the sun which can cause rapid deterioration of the brain and skin.
Katie Price, played by Bella Thorne, is this 17-year-old girl who has spent her entire life behind UV protected windows in her house, sleeping during the day and living during the night. Her mother died of cancer at a young age. Katie is left only with her caring, protective, fun-loving father, Jack, played by Rob Riggle, and one close friend. Both chose not to judge her by this disease.
While growing up, Katie wrote music and played the guitar, a skill her deceased mother taught her. Every day, she watches the world pass by from her tinted room window on the second story. Part of that activity includes watching Charlie Reed (Patrick Schwarzenegger) pass the house on his way to swim practice. She falls for him the first time he strolls by her window in elementary school. They are both the same age, and they both grow up together, though worlds apart.
The movie’s action begins on the day when Charlie graduates from high school and Katie, likewise, graduates from what her dad dubs “Home High School.” While the local high school graduates coalesce together that night to celebrate with a bonfire and drinking on the beach, Katie decides to go play her guitar and music at the train station. Charlie joins a friend at the party, but after a popular girl hits on him and his friends start getting drunk, he leaves. Walking home, he hears music from the train station and runs into Katie. He introduces himself and nervously she rushes out, baffled at meeting him face-to-face. In the rush to leave, she leaves behind her handwritten song book, which Charlie finds.
The next day, Katie’s friend (Quinn Shepherd) hears all that happened. As Katie recounts the tale, she realizes she left her songbook at the train platform. Her friend manipulates the situation so that when Katie picks up the songbook the next night, she has to get the book from Charlie, who’s waiting for her. After calming down, along with some cute, awkward interactions, Charlie walks her home and gives Katie his number.
The next time Katie and Charlie see each other is at a party. To go to this party, Katie asks her father for permission, which he grants so long as she’s safe. Katie and her best friend go to the party and meet up with Charlie.
This interaction leads to several more dates between Katie and Charlie. For once in her life, Katie finally feels what it’s like to be a real person, not a disease. So, she deliberately neglects to tell Charlie about her disease. Their love for one another and Katie’s desire for normalcy lead to a truly life-changing romance for them and everyone else.
This modern-day Cinderella story slowly grows on the audience so by the end of the movie you will deeply empathize with the characters and the joys and stings of love. The storyline and dialogue are both very simple, and, therefore, both are very predictable. Bella Thorne delivers the classic, awkward, adorable teenager looking for life beyond the four walls of her house. Patrick Schwarzenegger leaves much to be desired in his role as the male lead, seeming to rely on his good looks to carry his performance. Both at times seem to have the same lackluster and disengaged facial expression throughout the movie. The best performance of MIDNIGHT SUN is delivered by Quinn Shepherd who acts as Katie’s best friend. Quinn gives a natural, believable and endearing performance.
If one can move past the poor acting and overall simplicity, then the movie has many refreshing redemptive messages. The relationship between Katie and her father is tight-knit and wholesome. It portrays the sacrifice and love of a father, and the reciprocation of that selfless care and love from his daughter. They respect and trust one another, are honest and forgiving. Also, the relationship between Katie and Charlie is wholesome and not based upon sensuality but on genuine love for another person’s soul and the encouragement for each of them to achieve their dreams. The storyline allows for decisions, both major and minor, to have consequences fitting the choice made good or bad. Neither character, though faced with making poor decisions, such as underage drinking, chooses to merely follow the crowd but rather abstains. Neither character worships or glorifies the high school/college partying lifestyle.
Though they aren’t glorified, MIDNIGHT SUN does portray two parties with drinking and smoking. It contains some nudity (bare midriffs and lead characters in their underwear), several obscenities and 16 light profanities. There is no mention of religion whatsoever, but strong morals are prevalent in nearly every scene. Ultimately, MIDNIGHT SUN promotes living life to its fullest but doing so in a wholesome way. MOVIEGUIDE® advises caution for older children and teenagers.
MIDNIGHT SUN is a typical teenage romance about a girl with a life-threatening sensitivity to the sun and the young man whom she’s had a crush since childhood. They meet one night as she plays her music on a train platform. Shocked by running into him, she packs up her guitar but accidently leaves her song book. He returns to her, and they start dating. However, she wants to live a normal life, so she doesn’t tell him about her disease, until one night it threatens her life and their relationship.
MIDNIGHT SUN is a simple, predictable love story similar to movies like “The Fault in Our Stars,” but with lower entertainment and production qualities. The two leads give uneven performances. In spite of this, MIDNIGHT SUN has a strong moral worldview with a positive father-daughter relationship. Also, the girl and the by have matured enough to avoid drinking and smoking like other teenagers in their peer group. That said, MIDNIGHT SUN has a fair amount of foul language and underage drinking and kissing. MOVIEGUIDE® advises caution for older children, including teenagers.