Life, Above All Reviews

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Robin Clifford
Reeling Reviews
August 5, 2011
This is most definitely a femme film but is also world class filmmaking.
Full Review | Original Score: B+
Top Critic
Michael O'Sullivan
Washington Post
August 5, 2011
"Life, Above All," a deeply moving South African drama about AIDS and ostracism, manages to be, paradoxically, both austere and uplifting.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
Chris Hewitt (St. Paul)
St. Paul Pioneer Press
August 5, 2011
It feels like a peek into another world.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Ty Burr
Boston Globe
August 4, 2011
If [its] allegorical underpinnings blur the film's edges, the performances bring it back into focus.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Alexandra Cavallo
Boston Phoenix
August 3, 2011
A grave, quietly moving coming-of-age tale of a young girl raised in a village where many (her infant sister, in this case) are robbed of the opportunity to come of age at all...
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Laura Clifford
Reeling Reviews
July 31, 2011
...the film should be a Mother's Day standard...
Full Review | Original Score: B
Frank Swietek
One Guy's Opinion
July 28, 2011
Though one wishes it could have addressed the subject without resorting to what amounts to melodrama, young Manyaka's compelling performance makes it worth seeing.
Full Review | Original Score: B-
Brent Simon
Shockya.com
July 25, 2011
Built for obvious uplift, but Schmitz, a South African-born filmmaker of German descent, has a unique sort of insider's outside view, one might say, that keeps the movie from tipping over into the maudlin or contrived.
Full Review | Original Score: B-
Top Critic
Sheri Linden
Los Angeles Times
July 22, 2011
Manyaka gives the character a gaze so true it could only open hearts and minds.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/5
Ilya Tovbis
Slant Magazine
July 19, 2011
It has its heart in the right place, but it quickly begins to bleed at the edges, and soon these edges come to dominate the film's core.
Full Review | Original Score: 1.5/4
Pam Grady
Boxoffice Magazine
July 19, 2011
Thoughtful [and] emotionally resonant.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/5
Top Critic
Bruce Demara
Toronto Star
July 17, 2011
A wrenching and powerful testament to the resilience of the human spirit in the face of a remorseless disease and societal prejudice.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
Top Critic
Andrew O'Hehir
Salon.com
July 17, 2011
Nicely splits the difference between ethnographic realism and melodramatic uplift.
Cole Smithey
ColeSmithey.com
July 16, 2011
"Life, Above All" puts the audience in the heart of complex social issues on a grassroots level. Here is a film you can see out of as well as into.
Full Review | Original Score: B+
Top Critic
Peter Rainer
Christian Science Monitor
July 15, 2011
The fluidity of Schmitz's technique reflects a world in which tragedy and uplift are inextricably commingled.
Leonard Maltin
Leonard Maltin's Picks
July 15, 2011
One of the year's most striking and memorable performances is given by a 12-year-old girl who never set foot in front of a camera before she was chosen to play the leading role in Life, Above All. This moving adaptation of Allan Stratton's...
Top Critic
July 15, 2011
The script groans beneath a mass of symbolic winking and declamatory exposition that has the unfortunate effect of turning the villagers into credulous simpletons, ready to blow with any wind that carries them.
Liz Braun
Jam! Movies
July 15, 2011
Life, Above All is beautifully filmed and carried by the performance of Khomotso Manyaka as Chanda.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/5
Top Critic
Liam Lacey
Globe and Mail
July 15, 2011
Newcomer Manyaka, who as Chanda carries the family's burdens on her slender shoulders, is compelling -- she always seems to be leaning forward, ready to walk head first into her next battle.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
Nora Lee Mandel
Film-Forward.com
July 15, 2011
[T]he young stars are so emotionally mature. . . almost too extraordinarily resourceful and heroic in managing family crises and facing death [but] inspire adults.
Full Review | Original Score: 7/10
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