Here’s the cast. Starring, we have Oscar Isaac (OPERATION FINALE [2018], THE PROMISE [2017], X-MEN: APOCALYPSE [2016], STAR WARS: FORCE AWAKENS [2015], and upcoming films AT ETERNITY’S GATE [2018] and THE ADDAMS FAMILY [2019]), Olivia Wilde (HER [2013] and TRON: LEGACY [2010]), Mandy Patinkin (WONDER [2017], and the upcoming STUPID HAPPY [2019]), Olivia Cooke (READY PLAYER ONE [2018], ME, EARL, DYING GIRL [2015], and THE SIGNAL [2014]), and Àlex Monner ([REC] 3: GENESIS {2012}).

In support, we have Antonio Banderas (KNIGHT OF CUPS [2016], THE LEGEND OF ZORRO [2005], THE MASK OF ZORRO [1998], INTERVIEW WITH THE VAMPIRE [1994], and upcoming films THE VOYAGE OF DOCTOR DOLITTLE [2019] and THE NEW MUTANTS [2019]), Sergio Peris-Mencheta (RESIDENT EVIL: AFTERLIFE [2010]), Laia Costa (stuff that I’ve either never seen or heard of, and the upcoming ONLY YOU [2018]), Annette Bening (THE SEAGULL [2018], 20TH CENTURY WOMEN [2016], and upcoming films GEORGETOWN [2018] and CAPTAIN MARVEL [2019]), and Jean Smart (A SIMPLE FAVOR [2018], THE ACCOUNTANT [2016], and the upcoming BRAMPTON’S OWN [2018]).

Now for the crew. Writing and directing is Dan Fogelman, known for DANNY COLLINS (2015). Composing the score is Federico Jusid, known for KIDNAP (2017) and EL SECRETO DE SUS OJOS (2009). The cinematographer is Brett Pawlak, known for GLASS CASTLE (2017), THE MEDDLER (2016), and upcoming films INSTANT FAMILY (2018) and JUST MERCY (2020). Finally, the editor is Julie Monroe, known for LOVING (2016).

This is my honest opinion of: LIFE ITSELF

 

(SUMMARY)

A multi-generational story involving a single family and their ideas and suffering.

(REVIEW)

Damn, everyone’s been calling it this year’s COLLATERAL BEAUTY and I have to say that they’re absolutely right. Star-studded and talented cast all thrown into a movie that makes no sense. And yet, I can’t say that my senses are utterly offended. I mean, they should be. It’s a movie that’s trying to be about movies and critiquing the use of narration, which ironically uses a lot of narration, but it’s all interwoven with family suicides, deaths, affairs, and incredibly awful April Fools jokes, none of which have anything to do with movies and narration. Yeah, I bet you would have never got that from my summary. It’s not my fault, y’all! You describe this movie! On second thought, don’t describe it because that would imply that you saw it and then everybody loses.

The first major problem that crops up is the tone of the movie. It opens on Samuel L. Jackson narrating about who the hero of the movie will be and it’s all a bunch of fake outs. First dude’s “Gay, but like a cool kind of gay,” or whatever the hell (it’s a lot less offensive than I made it out to be), but then he shifts his focus to Bening’s character and declares her the hero… until she gets hit by a bus and then he shows up on screen saying that he’s out and he never comes back into the movie. And then it’s revealed that this entire sequence is all a part of a screenplay that Will (Oscar Isaac) is writing. Then things get awkward. He’s a douche bag who starts acting like an asshole to the barista of a coffee shop for no reason and then makes a scene, the owner having to escort him out of the building. Then there’s a therapy session involving Will’s recent stint in a mental hospital and it’s one of those flashbacks where the characters are walking around the memories and interacting with everything as if it’s actually something they’re walking through. Like, “Hey! Look how young I look!” “I think you look the same.” You know, shit like that. But then another scene is all dark and gritty about a teenage girl in a punk rock band and gets into fights, and it’s shot like a cheap David Lynch movie. It’s that consistent game of pong with the tone that feels unbelievably off-putting.

If the characters aren’t over the top messes, they’re pretty boring. Will is a dude struggling with his relationship with his wife and that’s it. That’s his personality. Olivia Wilde is the hot wife with crazy ideas. That’s it. I would tell you what those ideas are, but it comes out in the form of word spaghetti that I would swear to God that I would have a better shot at understanding Japanese than whatever the hell she says. Seriously, she needs to take her coveted seat right next to the Architect from MATRIX: RELOADED (2003) as people who speak, but make no sense. Olivia Cooke, who is by far the best actor in the movie is given such a boring role. Angry and sad teen because her parents weren’t around. Gee, never seen that before. I mean, she’s trying. She’s trying her hardest to make the role work, but it’s doesn’t quite work in her favor.

You know what’s weird, if each of these movies were their own separate movie, then it might have stood a better chance. One movie exploring a relationship that may or may not be a happy one, depending on the which characters’ point of view, a teenager’s complex emotions involving parents she never knew, they wouldn’t be the worst ideas to be explored. Weirdly enough, the movie does a decent enough job exploring the life of Javier (Sergio Peris-Mencheta) and his family life… and by that, I mean decent enough job… for this movie. But everything else feels like it was just a bunch of short stories very weirdly tied together in long-winded ways.

Speaking of Javier, this side story baffled the crap out of me. It opens on Vincent (Antonio Banderas) going into a twenty minute long story of how he acquired his wealth, all the while having Javier listen to him rather awkwardly, as if Banderas wasn’t even saying anything from the script and Peris-Mencheta is wondering why the fuck the director isn’t shouting “cut!” the entire time. And wouldn’t you know it, despite him being the bigger name in this section of the movie, Banderas isn’t the main character. What a tease! Nope, it’s this relative no-name dude who didn’t give a fuck about his hard upbringing. Most of this story is about a happy marriage and happy life as a family with his son. But then the son starts getting bad dreams and it costs the family a whole lot of money, resulting in abandoning his family to Vincent, who has developed feelings for Javier’s wife. Not only that, but for the sole reason that Vincent has money and he can take care of the family instead. It’s so… stupid and everyone is just okay with it. I mean, they’re not okay with it, but no one’s reacting like anyone normally would. Like the wife, Isabel (Laia Costa), is all like “I won’t love you (Vincent) like I loved him,” and it’s like… yes, continue staying faithful to a man who abandons you and your son for no other reason than he’s extremely insecure.

***SPOILERS***

 

 

 

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Isaac’s performance is not good. For a man who has made a respectable career these last few years showing off incredible talent and charm, he is beyond unlikable in this movie. He just got out of the loony bin and despite the understandable circumstances, he’s still a dick. He speaks to his therapist in a sexual way and despite his constant apologies, you never truly buy into it. So when he kills himself right in front of her, I challenge anyone to tell me they felt all that sorry for him, especially since he up and abandons his daughter who survived his wife’s death.

 

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***END SPOILERS***

Overall, this movie is a dumpster fire, but it gets a unique reaction out of me. I’m… numb. It’s not so bad that I’m clawing at my armrest and wishing to run out of the auditorium. But it’s also not so bad that I was having a blast with it. It’s sort of in the vein of being… fascinatingly bad, but not quite in an engaging way. It’s not boring, but there’s no life to it. It’s a terrible film, there’s no denying that, but it’s a movie that you can probably forget. Take it for what you will. As a recommendation, no. Just… just no. Avoid it all costs. Run away, don’t waste your money, your gas, or your precious time.

My honest rating for LIFE ITSELF: 1/5

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18 Replies to “LIFE ITSELF review”

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