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Gag or cry?

That's the dilema posed by Ol Parker’s adaptation of Jenny Downham’s novel Before I Die , where Dakota Fanning is Tessa, a sassy teen with leukaemia whose hunger to live (Sex! Drugs!) before she dies drives Dad (Paddy Considine) spare.

Fanning’s forthright stare and Considine’s paternal warmth punch through weepie cliché, but Parker saddles his tougher truths with carpe-diem contrivances, ranging from a convenient hunk-next-door romance to a plot largely made of marshmallow ‘meaningful moments’.

You’ll be in bits, but your critical faculties might weep too.

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