Ted Morgan (Seann William Scott) leads a run-of-the who existence and as such has grown painfully bored and tired of the monotony. He decides that his best plan of action is to settle some personal scores and then kill himself. It on this journey to suicide that Ted starts to discover that life may just be worth living.
‘Just Before I Go’ is somehow both a socially conscious and socially ignorant film. While it touches on a bunch of real American social issues – high school bullies, mental disorder, body shaming, homophobia, racism, abuse, gender identity, and more – it seemingly goes overboard and becomes some sort of Pokemon-esque ‘gotta catch’em all’ of problems. There are only a few characters in this film and giving them all of the above feels disingenuous and gimmicky.
A clear theme repeated time and again within the film is how bad the abusers had/have it, i.e. attempting to rationalize their motives and show that they too are victims of life. While it may be true that everyone has hardships this tends to feel very excuse heavy in the film, showing the abusers in a light of potential forgiveness because of what has been done to them.
The suicide plotline plays out somewhat weirdly. No good, clear understanding of Ted’s motivations to commit suicide are really fleshed out in the film, and it really does come off as if he decides to kill himself because his life isn’t that great. Given the laundry list of social issues dealt with in the film Ted’s potential suicide feels just like the plot device it is – a way to delineate seemingly faux first world problems from real problems.
‘Just Before I Go’ deals with some poignant and difficult issues, but it does so with heavy hands and a clumsily formulaic approach. It knows what it wants to say, but it shouts it at the viewer rather than laying breadcrumbs out amongst a well-meaning and subtle plot.