She only comes out at night.
For as long as she can remember, Katie Price has lived under the protection of a special UV window in her house.
The film opens with a dream that she remembers of her mother holding her on the beach while playing guitar, but for Katie, she can’t remember if thats true or not. This is because she has a rare condition, known as XP, (Xeroderma pigmentosum), which makes her extremely sensitive to the sun in a matter of life or death. The actress who plays Katie, Bella Thorne, did an exceptional job in her portrayal of someone who lives with XP. When Katie is exposed to the sun, there is a new sense of urgency to get back inside, which Thorne conveyed through her facial expressions as well as sudden shaking as the sun hit her skin. Consequently, as she is given her diagnosis leading up to the end, Bella’s acting continues just as strong as she perfectly portrays the weakness that she develops the more she goes out in the sun.
The music, as well, adds to the mood as it starts with a lighter tone and then deepens with more expression as she goes from first love to final diagnosis in just an hour and a half run time. Music, in itself, is a big deal for this movie. It is music that brings Katie to actually speak to the boy from her window, when she performs one night outside of a train station. An interesting fact about the film is that Bella herself performs the songs, and she doesn’t disappoint. The dynamic of the music, her voice and the message behind each one allows the audience to see more about the girl without considering her condition.
At first look, the film reminds one of another movie which came out last year: Everything, Everything. There are similarities that can be identified, especially by the fact of this movie being a young adult romance between two people that are separated by a house but that’s only the beginning. The framing of the house gives it a feeling similar to other movies where kids wonder andspeculate what is happening on the inside. There is a slight jab at the Twilight franchise when one of the kids passing by mentions that “she’s a vampire.” Of course, she obviously is not, but that line adds more dimension to the fact that the town knows nothing about why Katie is being kept indoors.
Ultimately, Midnight Sun is a movie of a slightly different caliber, because Katie’s widowed father doesn’t keep her from going out at night. In fact, we get a sense of her freedom when she meets her best friend, Morgan who gets her to go to a party for the first time after graduation. Directed by Scott Speer, who also helmed the Step It Up films, Midnight Sun perfectly captures the innocence of first love despite a terminal illness.
The film could also be compared to another book franchise by Lurlene McDaniel who is most known for writing teen romances where at least one partner has a terminal illness. Though the movie is based on a different novel, by Trish Cook, one has to wonder if she might of got some inspiration from McDaniel. The writing definitely lends itself to the possibility. Compared to the other movies of the same genre, Midnight Sun doesn’t disappoint as it instantly grips the audience from the start and makes them long to know more about how a girl can live with such a life-sentencing condition.
Verdict 5 out of 5
Overall, the film stands up to the one line from the movie, namely that people ought “to live in the moment, because you never know when it will end.” It’s a summer romance that for Katie is by far the best time of her life, when she finally gets to experience the love that had been growing inside of her since the first time she saw Charlie outside her window. Though without giving to much away, its gives a slight bittersweet feeling as we watch her deteriorate. Unlike Everything, Everything, Midnight Sun gives a new sense of hope to those living with terminal illnesses. It allows us to look at those individuals not as a disease but as a real human being who just wants to live for as long as they have left.
Midnight Sun came out in theaters March 23 and is currently playing in one near you.