Full disclosure: I watched 40 Below and Falling on Wednesday 9th November this year, a day which was pretty impactful in American/world politics, but I don’t think it affected my viewing of the film that much. Like the film description: “a stranger makes a teacher question her future”. I’m sure I had loads of strangers in mind who might be making many people question their future. Their terrifying future… anyway!
Kate’s a teacher proudly watching her kids perform in a Christmas pageant, before attending her leaving do. The pageant seems to just be kids hitting each other with sticks. I don’t know what bearing that has on Christmas but it’s nice for young minds who aren’t old enough to vote yet just vent their feelings, or demonstrate how social media and its echo chamber/us vs. them affect has destroyed political debate and given false hope in exit polls. It’s very festive.
At the party Kate is hit on by her boss- apparently his line about luring her to his to look at “first editions” (as opposed to reprints of his cock) is proof that his harassment at work is “getting better”. Nah, that’s fine though, there’s no problem with casual misogyny and flirting- it’s if good enough for world leaders, it’s good enough for him, AM I RIGHT.
The purpose for Kate’s journey is to get married- how many of these women leave it way too late to travel to their own weddings? Is it half as many as Hallmark thinks it is? She’s waylaid by snow so has no option but to head off with rugged woodman type Redford.
What hijinks they have! You can quite easily understand how these two fall for each over real quick, what with escaping death like 4 times. The threats come in the form of ice water, hilarious CGI fire, and a snow bandit who demands to know how much Kate “is worth”.
Don’t worry though: it’s light-hearted because he’s only interested in assaulting Redford (“ho ho ho,” they said, sat around the writing table. “men can’t rape men!”). By the time they arrive at a motel with only a sex suite left (read the tone, motelier) the writing’s on the wall.
Back home, Kate’s bland fiance is repeatedly hit on by his future sister-in-law. I see you Cindy, making your moves (namely backrubs). He objects to being rubbed on the back but Cindy replies, “we’re basically family!” Right…and families hump in your town? (Something something Ivanka).
Kate’s dad tries to make Blandy feel better. “Some men like golf, others like fishing,” he says, reeling off a list of activities that this film’s budget can’t afford. The male bonding exercise in 40 Below? Why, it’s taking off your socks and picking up bits of carpet with your feet. THEN WE WATCH THEM DO JUST THAT FOR A WHOLE MINUTE. I lost it at this point. What cheek. I love it. How is this a B-plot. Golden.
There are so many hidden gems in this generic plot: shout out to Kate’s family who wanted to put a banner up in church over the top of “the holy guy”. Guys. If you don’t recognise Jesus, maybe don’t get married in a church is all. Also, Redmond’s mum owns a stock photo of her son that’s super obviously from the film’s promo photos.
So, all in all, if you too are waking up on 9th November 2016 and I’m reaching you through the power of time travel, 40 Below and Falling is top quality escapism. Make seasonal films crap again.
Rating: Ho Ho Ho/Ho Ho Ho.