I find it important sometimes to walk into the viewing of a film, in this case my living room, almost completely blind. For big budget affairs I know it is hard, nigh, nearly impossible to accomplish this, but for smaller films that go straight to video on demand, while it may seem like a risk of your time, it is a worthwhile habit to get into. All I did when I heard about Then Came You was look at the poster and the cast list. Maisie Williams, Asa Butterfield, and Nina Dobrev seemed like a quirky pairing, the kind of quirky that could deliver brilliance like how Charlie Bartlett did for me a decade ago. Alas, Then Came You is not a master work or anything revolutionary, but it is a great palate cleanser; a charming tale of friendship and love with the perfect amount of heart and emotion behind it.
Skye (Maisie Williams, Game of Thrones) is a lively and excitable young adult that receives the worst news in the history of her cancer diagnosis: her doctor could not defeat and remove the tumor, she is going to die, and from this point on she needs to focus on the quality of life for the remainder of her days. Calvin (Asa Butterfield; Hugo, Ender’s Game) is an airport luggage handler alongside his father and brother, having left college after only a single semester. He is also a hypochondriac, believes he has cancer, and is sent to a cancer support group to gain some perspective and wisdom; he is a 100% healthy young man. It is at this support group that Calvin and Skye meet each other after Skye arrives late and in the middle of writing a to-die list, all the random, ridiculous but still sensible things one would like to do before they die from their cancer. The creation of Skye’s list sparks the friendship that Calvin and her will share for the rest of the film.
Skye is able to pull Calvin out of his shy interpersonal bubble, and Calvin is able to, at times, slow Skye down. They compliment each other in all the best and worst ways that best friends can. They get each other into mischief like shoplifting a local store, and then getting off the hook when the cop recognizes them from the cancer support group who’s father is also in the group. As their relationship grows, Skye shows up at the airport to spend more time with Calvin and discovers he has a crush on one of the flight attendants, Izzy (Nina Dobrev, The Vampire Diaries), who has come to this small town airport to avoid an ex-boyfriend in New York and reset her life. Skye is the push Calvin needs to ask her out and brings them together when neither recognize that the other is what they are looking for.
As Skye’s present grows more and more grim the longer the film moves along, the acting work and writing gets stronger, from the leads, but also from too quick dramatic moments from Calvin’s father Bob (David Koechner, Anchorman), his brother Frank (Tyler Hoechlin, Supergirl), and from Skye’s parents played by Colin Moss and Sonya Walger respectively. Maisie Williams does a particularly great job of showing the weight the progression of Skye’s cancer has on her, while also trying to balance herself and remain strong for her new best friend and her parents as she nears the end of her life.
The script and direction for Then Came You may be simple, and may seem rushed considering the subject matter, but it shows the progression of a great friendship amidst terrible tragedy with such heart and emotion it is hard not to fall for its charms.