Hot Take: It’s exactly what you’d expect from a YA romance in the same vein as a Nicholas Sparks film. The leads are charismatic enough to overlook some cheesy dialog and there’s even an unexpectedly good performance from Rob Riggle.
If I’m being honest, I have a soft spot for the cheesy, fatalistic romance genre. Last year, I was especially high on Everything, Everything. The year before it was Me Before You. Midnight Sun is yet another one of those films. Driven by charismatic performances from Bella Thorne and Patrick Schwarzenegger (son of Arnold), Midnight Sun features a flimsy plot about a girl name Katie (Thorne) who has xeroderma pigmentosum, also known as XP, which is a disease that makes the ultra violet rays from the sun deadly. She can’t leave the house in the day, home schools with her widowed father as her teacher and basically has one friend (Quinn Shephard) as the rest of her community barely knows she exists. She’s obsessed with one of those community members, Charlie (Schwarzenegger) and when she runs into him at the train station one night soon after graduation, her life is forever changed.
At times, Midnight Sun feels almost a little like science fiction as the idea of a girl with such a disease being able to hide out in her community and almost no one knowing of her seems impossible in this day and age. A few people know of her. Her doctor is familiar. The ticket salesman at the train station. Her best friend. Her dad. That’s about it. Katie is also musically talented which is what catches Charlie’s eye first as he happens to be near the train station one night when she is singing. The film is added by the fact that Thorne has a great voice and delivers a few original songs that, while cheesy, are also a bit catchy. Charlie has his own issues. His life was turned upside down by an injury when horsing around with his friends has now put his college scholarship in jeopardy. Eventually, even though she’s reluctant, Katie talks to Charlie and the two embark on a love story that plays out through the rest of the film.
Predictably, Midnight Sun goes exactly where you’d expect it. It doesn’t matter thanks to the magnetic personalities of the stars and an equally warm and tempered but still funny performance from Riggle. Don’t think this praise doesn’t mean the film doesn’t pile on the cheese as there’s enough for anyone lactose intolerant to be wary of even watching this film. It’s going to depend on how you feel about these types of films if you’re willing to overlook the cheesiness of it all. If you’re cynical, this one is going to be a tough one to get through. If you’re open to optimism with a dose of reality thrown in only when the writer and director felt it necessary to ramp up the emotion, then Midnight Sun is worth a look.
YA romances are right up your alley and if someone caught you in an honest moment, you’d admit the cheesier the better.
You’re of the mindset that if you’ve seen one cheesy romance, you’ve seen them all. You likely use the term “chick flick”, too.