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‘Midnight Sun’ Review: Bella Thorne Can’t Act in Ludicrous Romance

This review includes spoilers for “Midnight Sun”.

“Midnight Sun” has an important premise for a teen romance movie. Bella Thorne plays Katie, a teenager with the real-life disease of Xeroderma pigmentosum (XP). if she is exposed to even the slightest sunlight, she will die.

Reading: The girl who was allergic to sunlight movie

so he only comes out at night. During the day, she has a Rapunzel-like existence behind tinted windows being homeschooled by her father, writing song lyrics, and sleeping.

While in her bedroom, she falls for Charlie, a moody hunk played by Patrick Schwarzenegger who stops by her house every day on his way to school. when they meet in real life, shortly after they graduate from high school, he likes her too.

but katie doesn’t tell him about her life-threatening condition. she doesn’t want to be seen as “just a disease”, so they hang out only at night. What will happen when the truth is known?

why you should care: this movie tests whether bella thorne and patrick schwarzenegger can be movie stars.

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bella thorne is becoming increasingly famous as a model and star of teen shows and movies like “celebrities in love” and “the chumps”. she has also been in the news for speaking out about body image issues and online bullying. Since her character is a musician in this movie, she is also a test to see if she can be a pop star.

patrick schwarzenegger, arnold’s son, has less acting experience but is also establishing himself as a star. “Midnight Sun” is the first big screen test for both of them. but its exterior premise, where the female character basically has a secret deadly allergy to the sun, might be too outlandish to work as a movie.

what’s hot: the fact that katie can die if exposed to sunlight makes it all exciting.

because katie is doomed to a slow death if she sees the sun, the film automatically has a low-key dramatic tension that is somewhat intriguing to watch mixed in with all the lovey-dovey romance where bella thorne and patrick schwarzenegger lock eyes and talk about how much he likes music. during much of the movie, when they’re hanging out at night and it’s unclear how long it’s been, it’s surprising to see a glow on an object in the background. Is the sun rising or is it just the glare from a streetlight?

It’s also good that Charlie isn’t written as some vapid jock. he is surprisingly emo, because he lost his scholarship to the university of california at berkeley when he had to leave the swim team due to injury. you could imagine him listening to my chemical romance alone in his bed at night, but never talking to his friends about it.

the film is also sensitive to disease, xp. The genetic disorder affects only 0.0004% of people in the United States, which is the only demographic for this movie aside from fans of Bella Thorne. (xp is more common in japan, and “midnight sun” is an adaptation of a japanese movie of the same name).

what it is not: nobody behaves like a normal human being.

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I have so many questions. charlie is dating katie for weeks and never once thinks to ask why she can only hang out at night and why are her windows tinted? The movie also establishes early on that everyone who goes to the local high school thinks Katie is weird because she never hangs out with them. never suspect that something is going on?

also, does charlie have parents? she had to quit her swim team, lost a scholarship, and planned to drive aimlessly across the country instead of going to college. she also spends a lot of money renting a recording studio for katie to record the songs she has been writing. You’d think her parents might have an opinion or two about everything she’s up to, but the movie never mentions if they exist.

oh yeah, and (spoiler alert) katie finally gets out in the sun when they date too long one night. the film briefly turns into a thriller as she seeks refuge.

It doesn’t help that none of its leads are very good actors. Rob Riggle, playing Katie’s father, provides a warm presence. but thorne is pretending to be a goofy theater kid, which is totally lame, and schwarzenegger is just flat.

The Bottom Line: “Midnight Sun” has some good points, but ultimately can’t make its ridiculous premise work.

You can skip this unless you’re a die-hard Bella Thorne fan.

rating:

c

“Midnight Sun” is in theaters Friday.

See also: How CODA managed to pull out a Best Picture win – Vox

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