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“Then Came You” Brings Quirk To A Teenager Tale Of Terminal Illness And Romance


It’s a little weird that there’s a multitude of films where teenagers fall in love, while at least one is sick. Usually, it’s cancer, though any terminal illness will do. These movies, largely based off of Young Adult books, run the gamut from cliched to heartbreaking. Beyond their YA roots, however, they do hit on some of the things that make a cinematic romance work. In the case of Then Came You, the story doesn’t really trend any new ground, but the quirky chemistry of the leads help string things together. Though flawed, it ultimately charms its way into your good graces.

The film is a romantic comedy centered on two individuals with very specific medial issues. Meeting at a support group, teenager cancer sufferer Skye (Maisie Williams), befriends Calvin (Asa Butterfield), an older teen who she thinks also has the terminal illness. However, the 19 year old is actually a hypochondriac, one who barely can function. As they bond, Calvin begins to assist Skye, with some cajoling, in carrying out her very unusual bucket list. Skye has some really odd things things to do before she dies, and she’s determined to do them. As this goes on, Calvin begins to work up the nerve to ask out Izzy (Nina Dobrev), who he’s previously seen as unattainable. We all know where it’s headed, but the journey is where this one shines, as opposed to the destination. Supporting players here include Titus Burgess, Tyler Hoechlin, Ken Jeong, David Koechner, Briana Venskus, and more. Peter Hutchings directs, while Fergal Rock penned the screenplay. Andre Lascaris handles the cinematography, while Spencer David Hutchings provides the score.


A lot of what makes this movie work is the performance of Maisie Williams. She brings life, vim, and vigor to what could have just been a cliche. Williams embraces the quirk of it all and attacks the role with gusto. At the same time. Asa Butterfield initially comes in with far too low a key to pair with her. Eventually, he elevates his game, though she’s still very much the standout. A third act reveal helps to put some choices into context, and the final scenes are fairly moving, helping to ease the landing. The first act is hit or miss, so you just have to be patient before the charm kicks in.

It’s a slight shame the cast members besides the leads are so underserved by the script. An interesting assortment of supporting players like Titus Burgess, Nina Dobrev, Tyler Hoechlin, Ken Jeong, and David Koechner are given so little to do. Dobrev has a subplot to engage in, but the film never quite embraces her. Burgess, however, is completely wasted. Such a talented comedic actor and he’s only in a few scenes. It’s a real shame. With a more well rounded focus, this would have been a better movie. It’s already a solid one, but that could have made it even more enjoyable.

Overall, Then Came You makes its bones with the relationship between Butterfield and Williams. The latter is the chief selling point though, with this being her best cinematic showcase to date. Don’t go in assuming that she’ll get any awards love (this isn’t Shailene Woodley in The Fault in Our Stars, where she was legitimately snubbed by the Academy for stunning work), but do go in with an eye towards her owning the picture. If you like a romantic comedy with a mix of tragedy thrown in, but not one desperate to make you cry, this has something to offer. Give it a look and see what you think…


Be sure to check out Then Came You, opening this weekend!

About Joey Magidson

A graduate of Stony Brook University (where he studied Cinema and Cultural Studies), resides in Brooklyn, New York. He also contributes to several other film-related websites.

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