American films

Midnight Sun film review: Bella Thorne, Patrick Schwarzenegger in weepy teen romance based on 2006 Japanese hit

This story about a teenage girl with a rare genetic disorder that makes her skin unable to repair UV damage, meaning she can only go outside at night, is well meaning, if a little hard to believe. Fans of weepies will love it

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 19 June, 2018, 7:03am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 19 June, 2018, 7:03am

2/5 stars

Midnight Sun is a well-intentioned teen drama about nice people trying to help each other out in difficult circumstances. Unfortunately it’s also hokey, never missing the chance to tug at the heartstrings with a mawkish tune, a tearful hug, or a scene of selfless kindness.

Katie (Bella Thorne) is a suburban teen who suffers from xeroderma pigmentosum (XP), a deadly genetic disorder which means that the skin can’t repair the damage done by sunlight. Katie lives sheltered behind special reflective glass, sleeping by day and living by night.

Katie has used her seclusion to become an accomplished singer/songwriter and, in one of many unbelievable occurrences, falls in love with champion swimmer Charlie (Patrick Schwarzenegger, son of Arnold) while busking in the dark. The two begin a romance, but Katie doesn’t tell Charlie about her XP. When he whisks her away on a surprise overnight train ride, she loses track of the time and is caught by the sunrise.

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While Midnight Sun deals with a genuine disease, it suffers from a reality gap. Everyone is helpful and considerate, there is no danger, sick people are beautiful, nothing costs any money, and all ambitions are easily accomplished. Acting, direction and script are on a par with a bad romantic soap opera, although viewers who enjoy weepy melodramas should arm themselves with extra-strength tissues.

The film is closely based on a 2006 Japanese film of the same title, although the original noted more of the heroine’s deterioration – something which this glossy teen picture noticeably avoids.

Midnight Sun opens on June 21

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