Starring Bella Thorne and Patrick Schwarzenegger as star-crossed teen lovers, Scott Speer’s ‘Sick Lit’ inspired film Midnight Sun presents a rather weak, convoluted and, to be quite frank, a rather silly story about a girl afflicted with a rare disease which could kill her at any moment.
The film which is based on the Japanese film Taiyô no uta (Norihiro Koizumi, 2006), centres around Katie (Thorne), a reclusive 17-year-old who spends most of her days locked away behind closed doors and darkened windows from fear of triggering the dormant disease. Katie has something called xeroderma pigmentosum (XP for short), a hereditary illness where carriers suffer from a severe and deadly allergic reaction to sunlight.
Hiding in plain sight, Katie who lives alone with her doting father Jack (Rob Riggle), dreams of having a normal life, but has to content herself with the odd visit from kooky best friend Morgan, played by Quinn Shephard- who incidentally is probably the best thing about the film. One evening while out busking at the local train station, as you do, Katie who can only ever go out at night, finally meets her childhood crush and the boy she has been in love with for as long as she can remember. The two exchange pleasantries and before you know it, they start dating.
The rest is as predictable as you might have guessed, only at times ever worse. Similarities will unavoidably be drawn between this truly mediocre production and Stella Meghie’s charming, yet hugely flawed 2017 film Everything Everything. Having said that, one must point out that Midnight Sun sadly has none of the charm of Meghie’s film, nor do Thorne and Schwarzenegger match up to Amandla Stenberg (The Hunger Games) and Nick Robinson’s (Love, Simon) beautifully nuanced performances as the teenager lovers kept apart by a similar life threatening illness.
On the whole, Midnight Sun is certainly very much aware of its young teenage demographic and that’s perhaps the best thing going for it, if you like that sort of thing. However, the film sadly lacks believability when it comes to its story-telling and ends up feeling a little too forced and contrived to be taken seriously. The film also suffers from its inability to have a believable footing in reality and ultimately fails to inspire any kind of urgency in its audiences. A disappointing production which could have benefited from a better screenplay.