Because teenager Katie (Thorne, The Duff) suffers from a rare skin condition that prevents her coming into direct contact with the sun's rays, she has to spent daylight hours indoors, venturing out only at night to strum her acoustic guitar to no one at the nearby train station. Home-schooled by single dad (Riggle) she has had the glad eye on sensitive swimmer Charlie (Arnie's son) who skateboards past her window every day. But Katie and Charlie accidentally meet one evening, bond over their shared love of anaemic acoustic pop, and romance blossoms, with Katie keeping her disease secret…
Polished and gorgeous and impossibly romantic, Midnight Sun is the teen Nicholas Sparks movie you haven't been waiting for (it’s actually an adaptation of a 2006 Japanese film) with added Everything Everything, last year's Rapunzel Romance, for good measure. It’s far too chirpy for its own good, preferring to find humour (mostly derived from Katie's morto moments with Charlie) and titillation (he scrubs boats down the shore in a sleeveless tee) where possible. It could have spent some of that time exploring the psychological fallout of being stuck in the house half one’s life but that’s too dark, too serious for director Scott Speer (the two latter Step Up movies no one has seen).
It sounds like I’m down on it but Midnight Sun is a decent outing. It’s nice – nice! - and you'd have to have a rotten heart not to be moved. Thorne is likeable and has real charisma as the goofy but beautiful teen, while Schwarzenegger passes unnoticed; he's asked to stand there and be handsome and by golly does he do that. It also dives into the characters more than one would expect: he wears the scars of a stupid drunken stunt that has hindered his scholarship prospects while she is deathly shy about singing in public – both subplots reach the inevitable conclusion but it's fun getting there.
To deepen things further one could approach Midnight Sun as an allegory for dad and daughter inability to move on since Katie’s mother death (they're both holed up in the same house, he still wears the wedding ring, she still plays her guitar). One could but one probably shouldn’t.
And it’s NOT an ersatz vampire movie, alright?