I never used to cry at films. At teenage sleepovers, I sat through such tearjerkers as Titanic and The Notebook dry-eyed. Then I hit my twenties and something changed. Suddenly I joined the ranks of the cinema criers, sniffling my way through sad endings and happy endings alike. And Now is Good certainly had me reaching for the tissues.
In the first scene we are introduced to Tessa (Dakota Fanning, rocking a faultless British accent) as she speaks about how life is just a series of moments whilst contemplating losing her virginity. This sets a theme for the rest of the film, which is itself a series of moments, moments in Tessa’s life as she attempts to tick items off her bucket list. We learn that she has terminal cancer, and has made the decision to stop treatment in order to live out the remainder of her life in peace. The list, written in large print on her bedroom wall, is there to help her enjoy it.
None of this would be possible without partners in crime, and Tessa has two, best friend Zoey (Kaya Scoledario) and boy-next-door Adam (Jeremy Irvine), with whom the predictable romance blossoms. They grow closer as he helps her with the list, and as time goes on the list comes to revolve around him. Tessa does face opposition though, in the form of her parents, particularly her overprotective father (Paddy Considine). Her mother (Olivia Williams) is terrified of hospitals, and has kept herself distanced from her daughter’s diagnosis.
There are stumbling points, notably Tessa’s overly calm attitude to her imminent death, which seems a little unbelievable. The pregnancy sub-plot, seemingly inserted simply for the ‘life springing from death’ analogy and poorly handled to boot, also feels unnecessary. But these are minor points in a film which is generally moving, heart-warming, and well worth a watch!