Then Came You is a drama-comedy romance film directed by The Outcasts director Peter Hutchings. It stars Asa Butterfield as Calvin, a hypochondriac working as an airport baggage handler who holds a crush on a flight attendant named Izzy (played by Nina Dobrev). At a support group he meets a girl by the name of Skye (Maisie Williams) who has a terminal illness. From there an unlikely and rapid friendship is born in which Calvin aids Skye in completing her unique bucket list. The film is set to release in US theaters on February 1st of this year, just in time for Valentine’s Day, and we here at Mxdwn have been able to view the completed feature early for review.
Then Came You has added another entry into the very contemporary genre of “Terminal Romance” films, which tend to be based off of best selling novels and follow a love story between one or more characters with at least one being diagnosed with a terminal illness and not having too much longer to live. The genre became quite popular following the success of the novel and film (of the same name) The Fault In Our Stars and drew plenty of youngins to the theater. Terminal Romance isn’t new however, as the genre has been around for quite some time, yet has boomed in popularity within the last ten years and spawned plenty of its own tropes. Then Came You seems to understand many of these tropes and runs with it, embracing the fact that it is one of these films and never taking itself too seriously. It lets you have fun with the characters and strives from being overly depressing and serious or overly romantic.
A lot of the above can be attributed to the film’s pacing. It is very quick with shots cutting rapidly giving a sense of motion to the on-screen world yet it knows when it needs to slow down and take things a bit easier. The film becomes very feel good with help from the very upbeat alternative soundtrack and Hutching’s energetic directing. However, it does becomes a bit overdone closer to the middle of the film, a point where you wonder why they keep pushing the sappy nature when it’s been understood. It is then when the emotional grit of the third act gets you by surprise and boosts its emotional prowess. A lot of the film feels cliched at times, even with the headstrong acceptance of its nature. There is a lot of originality here for the viewer to enjoy, especially in the form of bucket list activity montages, but at its core sits a story that is a familiar (and slightly formulaic) teen romance painted in a coat of the terminal romance genre. Regardless, Then Came You gives an ultimately sweet and heartfelt story that grows on you no matter how hard you try and hate it.
The cast of Then Came You does carry a number of familiar faces who give good performances. One of my favorite parts, beside David Koechner’s role of a subtle and direct but loving father that is not of his usual comedic endeavors, is the energy of the chemistry between stars Butterfield and Williams. Both are definitely not newcomers to acting and even though this is not necessarily one of their best performances, they are still able to pull off a lot of the witty humor present in Fergal Rock’s screenplay amid some otherwise lackluster dialogue. In spite of moments of predictable lines, the film is able to mature in both tone and overall quality over its 3 acts, much like its characters do over the course of its heartbreaking and heartfelt story.
Verdict: 3.5 out of 5
What Hutching’s and his crew have done with Then Came You is good, but there exists so much room for more. It is something I might not necessarily venture to theaters to see, but I do appreciate its ability to mostly stand on its own. Also, I would be delighted to watch more of Asa Butterfield’s unusual dancing.