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Examined Life

Examined Life (2009)



Average Rating: 6.8/10
Reviews Counted: 36
Fresh: 28 | Rotten: 8

With Examined Life, Director Astra Taylor has turned a seemingly weighty subject into a fascinating documentary.


Average Rating: 6.8/10
Critic Reviews: 16
Fresh: 13 | Rotten: 3

With Examined Life, Director Astra Taylor has turned a seemingly weighty subject into a fascinating documentary.



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Average Rating: 3.5/5
User Ratings: 5,084

My Rating

Movie Info

This documentary takes a look at the manifestations of contemporary philosophy through interviews with various figures in the field, who examine these existential issues from the vantage point of lively public places, where everyday people demonstrate their views and values through the most clear and innocuous ways. Some of the guests featured in the film include Cornel West, Avital Ronell, and Peter Singer. ~ Cammila Albertson, Rovi

Feb 23, 2010

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All Critics (36) | Top Critics (16) | Fresh (28) | Rotten (8) | DVD (2)

You can't help but feel that director Astra Taylor fails at her own challenge of making an academic subject come truly alive as cinema.

November 20, 2009 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
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Taylor's stimulating film, enlivened by creative location shooting, will surely find an appreciative audience among highbrow cinephiles.

September 1, 2009 Full Review Source: Variety
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Director-writer Astra Taylor wisely avoids turning this talk fest into a talking heads fest by filming these effusive intellectuals in a variety of visually diverting, real-world environments.

May 1, 2009 Full Review Source: Los Angeles Times
Los Angeles Times
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There's plenty of food for thought here, though the movie is more a buffet than a meal.

April 24, 2009 Full Review Source: Chicago Reader
Chicago Reader
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To [director Astra] Taylor's credit it's as inviting and accessible as a smart conversation with fascinating friends.

April 23, 2009 Full Review Source: Seattle Times
Seattle Times
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Illuminating, even moving.

April 17, 2009 Full Review Source: Denver Post
Denver Post
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An unusual and compelling documentary featuring eight thinkers musing on philosophical matters as they walk in creative places.

February 25, 2010 Full Review Source: Spirituality and Practice
Spirituality and Practice

For those interested in seeing philosophers on the screen, this engaging movie offers the opportunity to see eight of them walking the streets.

November 27, 2009 Full Review Source: Observer [UK]
Observer [UK]

The ones that work, Cornel West and Peter Singer for example, are intriguing and compelling but they don't all hang together so effortlessly.

November 20, 2009 Full Review Source: Empire Magazine
Empire Magazine

A fascinating introduction to the big issues in modern philosophy, presented with a pleasantly light touch.

November 20, 2009 Full Review Source: Film4

Never dull, but it will make your head hurt.

November 20, 2009 Full Review Source: Times [UK]
Times [UK]

Each of the half-dozen or so thinkers gets around 20 minutes to maunder on - simultaneously not long enough and far too long. Frustratingly, no subject is investigated in depth, and the glibness is dull.

November 20, 2009 Full Review Source: Guardian

This is an addictive and stimulating experience all round.

November 20, 2009 Full Review Source: Daily Telegraph
Daily Telegraph

Eccentric but always accessible, Taylor's boff-doc avoids the idiosyncrasy that her work has previously exhibited. In bringing philosophy into the real world, Examined Life is at once illuminating and intellectually stimulating.

November 20, 2009
Little White Lies

A film that can haunt you for the rest of your life.

November 20, 2009 Full Review Source: Shadows on the Wall
Shadows on the Wall

Although a sporadically stimulating and thoroughly challenging exercise, Examined Life too often feels like a forum for brainy big-thinkers' annoying penchant for being as inscrutable as possible.

October 23, 2009 Full Review Source: Times-Picayune

Yes, examining philosophy for the greater effect it can have is admiral but it seems to get lost as the film jumps from one personality to another.

April 30, 2009 Full Review Source: Boxoffice Magazine
Boxoffice Magazine

She gives eight thinkers 10 minutes each to unload on tough topics like the meaning of life and right and wrong and comes up mostly with a lot of platitudes about treating other people nice.

April 23, 2009 Full Review Source: Boston Phoenix
Boston Phoenix

Watching "Examined Life" is sort of like sitting on a plane next to a total stranger who insists on making conversation. Except this is that one time out of 100 when the stranger turns out to be a completely fascinating person.

April 18, 2009 Full Review Source: Capital Times (Madison, WI)
Capital Times (Madison, WI)

In Examined Life, a lively assembly of philosophers ponder the question: "What's at stake here?"

March 8, 2009 Full Review Source: PopMatters

Audience Reviews for Examined Life

Makes for an intriguing film. At times funny, and at its best, insightful.
June 10, 2012
Adriel Lim

Super Reviewer

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