Now is Good... But it ain’t great

Cert 12A | ***

Now is Good is a mawkish but ultimately effective teen weepie. It follows the last months in the life of terminally ill 17-year-old Tessa (Dakota Fanning) as she ticks off a list of things she wants to experience before death.

One of the things on the list is to lose her virginity, and in a rare instance of good fortune, the handsome Adam (Warhorse’s Jeremy Irvine) has just moved in next door. Despite her father’s scepticism regarding Adam’s capacity to handle the responsibilities that go with having a dying girlfriend, Tessa and Adam fall for each other. Many close-ups of tear-moistened faces ensue.

Irvine is convincing enough as the sensitive, recently bereaved boy-next-door, who doesn’t realize how handsome he is. Fanning is also decent, although her English accent occasionally veers into a clipped poshness out of sync with the rest of the cast. But it is Tessa’s parents (Olivia Williams and Paddy Considine) who really shine through amidst all the doom and gloom. Williams provides some much needed levity as the heavy drinking mother, Ab Fab-esque in her encouragement of irresponsible behaviour. Considine is more restrained and gives an astute performance as a father conflicted by love and fear.

Irritatingly, Now is Good makes a big emotional impact even though it's probably too mediocre a film to warrant one. Given the subject matter you'd have to be made of stone not to be affected.