I have to admit I was very skeptical about Midnight Sun. Another sappy teen romance with a questionable plot line (extreme sensitivity to the sun, really?) with Arnold Schwarzenegger’s son taking the lead. Hollywood nepotism at its finest.
That said I also suspected that Midnight Sun would be one of those films that critics love to hate and that inevitably I would still shed a tear at the end. I was not at all prepared, however, for the absolute tsunami of emotion that Midnight Sun would bring. Keep reading to find out more!
NB. Do not get this version of Midnight Sun by Trish Cook confused with Midnight Sun by Twilight author Stephanie Meyer. I know with the extreme sensitivity to the sunlight Katie might seem like a vampire too, but these stories are very different.
Midnight Sun is about Katie Price, a 17 year old girl who was diagnosed with XP, xeroderma pigmentosum, at a young age. She has an extreme sensitivity to the sun that prevents her from going outside, lest she develop skin cancer or brain degeneration. Every day, she watches Charlie Reed, a guy who lives nearby, skate past her house on the way to school. One day, she’s out and about at night when the suns’ gone down, playing her music. Charlie hears her singing and comes over. She’s completely and utterly flabbergasted and runs away. The story starts here and obviously the pair tentatively start dating but Katie is afraid to tell Charlie the truth about her condition and keeps it hidden from him.
The first thing to discuss, is Katie’s disease, XP. At first, it’s a little difficult to come to terms with or accept the plot line because it just sounds so damn ridiculous. But don’t be so quick to dismiss it – XP is a real condition! Whilst the effects of it have been massively sped up in Midnight Sun, in extreme cases, those living with this condition must avoid all exposure to sunlight, just like Katie. Once you’ve accepted that her condition is a real but rare possibility in the real world, this film becomes all the more tragic.
That said, Midnight Sun is also hilarious. Surprisingly so. I read the book after I watched the film and the dialogue was pretty much identical to the film script except the book was SO unbelievably cringe-worthy. Kudos to Bella Thorne and Patrick Schwarzenegger for taking this embarrassing teen dialogue and turning it into an awkward, adorable teenage interaction. Obviously since Katie doesn’t have many friends and doesn’t go outside she has absolutely no clue how to interact with boys. Particularly the hottest guy in town. It’s such a cliché I know, but trust me, they get it just right.
The cinema was full of laughs but, as with any good rom com, there were plenty of tears too. By the end of Midnight Sun, pretty much the whole room was crying. I saw a teenage boy in the row in front of me getting roasted by his mates as he fiercely pinched in between his eyes, trying to stop another tear sneaking out. Another girl ahead of me full on sobbed at one point in the film and fell into her friends shoulder. A little OTT if you ask me but as I said – this film brought with it a tsunami of emotion. The queue for the ladies bathroom at the end of the film was so long as all the girls lined up to use the mirrors to fix their make up, which was actually pretty funny. That’s just how much crying there was though. Don’t bother wearing any makeup if you’re going to watch this in the cinema, it will be half way down your chin by the time the lights come up.
All in all, Midnight Sun really took me by surprise and I think that teens, even adults(!), are going to love it. It’s so cheesy but also so cute and heartbreaking. It captures the awkwardness of first love perfectly and also the tragedy of losing someone too soon. This film is perfect for fans of The Fault in Our Stars, Me Before You and Everything, Everything.
Midnight Sun is in cinemas everywhere on 30th March 2018
Full review of the book coming soon, but in all honesty, it was super cringe and I wouldn’t recommend it! Just go straight to the film! (Not something I’ve ever said before…)