Film Review: Midnight Sun

Scott Speer’s Midnight Sun is certainly cheesy, but is a good fix for those looking for a teen weepie.

Teenager Katie suffers from Xeroderma pigmentosum (XP), a rare condition which means she cannot be exposed to sunlight. Relying on the company of her father and her best friend, Katie is flummoxed when she meets her crush one evening. Reluctant to let him know about her condition, Katie cautiously begins to date Charlie…

Directed by Scott Speer and written by Eric Kirsten, Midnight Sun is a remake of a 2006 Japanese film. This version shifts the action to small-town America, where teen Katie must spend daylight behind closed doors.

Midnight Sun seems unambiguous in its aim; the film wants to make its audience cry. It is in the same vein as The Fault in Our Stars and other teen melodramas which centre on a severe medical condition. The film combines a romance with this looming condition. Some humour is attempted, although the success of this is patchy. The narrative is predictable; there will be few surprises here for those familiar with teen melodramas.

Some of the dialogue feels hackneyed, particularly in the film’s more emotional scenes. Furthermore, there are a few plot holes in the second half of the movie. Despite this, Midnight Sun is not beyond redemption. Perhaps through persistence more than anything else, Speer’s movie has a certain charm to it. The protagonist is likeable, and viewers may find themselves rooting for her burgeoning relationship with Charlie.

Bella Thorne delivers much needed charisma as Katie. She is most amiable in this role, and receives good support from Rob Riggle as her father. Patrick Schwarzenegger may look the part of the attractive love interest, but sadly he lacks the acting chops. The music (including songs performed by Bella Thorne) is very much in keeping with the film’s tone, although does lead to a cringeworthy sequence on Katie and Charlie’s big date.

Midnight Sun requires viewers to leave their cynicism behind if they are to enjoy the movie. Often cheesy and sometimes silly, the film entertains in a TV-movie style.