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Top Box Office

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62% Draft Day $5.7M
40% Divergent $5.6M
71% Oculus $5.2M
77% Noah $5.0M
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Life, Above All Reviews

Page 1 of 4
Sarah Sluis
Film Journal International

Story about a South African girl struggling against AIDS stigma feels too rational and distant.

Full Review Source: Film Journal International

August 15, 2011
Ilya Tovbis
Slant Magazine

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 Source: Slant Magazine | Original Score: 1.5/4

July 19, 2011
Philip Martin
Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

...there's an undeniable fierceness and intelligence in Manyaka's lead performance. She's far from a polished actor, but there's real steel there.

Full Review Source: Arkansas Democrat-Gazette | Original Score: 83/100

November 25, 2011
Ella Taylor
Top Critic IconTop Critic

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.

Full Review Source: NPR

July 15, 2011
Jim Lane
Sacramento News & Review

... more drudgery than enlightenment.

Full Review Source: Sacramento News & Review | Original Score: 2/5

August 31, 2011
Matt Bochenski
Little White Lies

With a lighter touch, Life, Above All could have been the redemptive and insightful experience it so desperately yearns to be.

Full Review Source: Little White Lies | Original Score: 2/5

May 26, 2011
Eric Kohn

Although loaded with dramatic consequence, "Life, Above All" is slight.

Full Review Source: indieWIRE

July 14, 2011
Michelle Orange

In straining to make this a borderless story of toxic prejudice, Schmitz lost sight of the specificity that could have made it more powerfully universal.

Full Review Source: Movieline | Original Score: 6/10

July 14, 2011
John Beifuss
Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN)

The location settings are more compelling than the filmmaking, but the subject matter and the effective presence of young Khomotso Manyaka perhaps make this worth seeking out for those who are sympathetic to its subject matter.

Full Review Source: Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN) | Original Score: 2.5/4

October 14, 2011
Melissa Anderson
Village Voice
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Life, Above All suggests that ignorance and stigmatization are a problem only in the village, not in the highest office of government.

Full Review Source: Village Voice

July 12, 2011
V.A. Musetto
New York Post
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A downer that too often resorts to melodrama.

Full Review Source: New York Post | Original Score: 2/4

July 15, 2011
Rene Rodriguez
Miami Herald
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A well-meaning but ploddingly earnest after-school special...

Full Review Source: Miami Herald | Original Score: 2/4

September 15, 2011
Marc Mohan

An imperfect attempt at addressing the continued reluctance of sub-Saharan societies to address the HIV plague in their midst.

Full Review Source: Oregonian | Original Score: C+

September 16, 2011
Alexandra Cavallo
Boston Phoenix

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 Source: Boston Phoenix | Original Score: 3/4

August 3, 2011
Josh Bell
Las Vegas Weekly

Manyaka brings grace and empathy to everything Chanda does, eliciting sympathy and understanding in spite of the movie's own awkwardness.

Full Review Source: Las Vegas Weekly | Original Score: 3/5

September 7, 2011
Roger Moore
McClatchy-Tribune News Service

A gripping African drama about a child who has to grow up too fast, who has to keep her family together and alive, and has come to terms with the AIDS stigma that her neighbors place on them.

Full Review Source: McClatchy-Tribune News Service | Original Score: 3/4

January 11, 2013
Lucy Barrick
Radio Times

The subject matter is undeniably grim, but there's hope and forgiveness at the heart of this South Africa-set drama.

Full Review Source: Radio Times | Original Score: 3/5

May 26, 2011
Roger Ebert
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

"Life, Above All" earns the tears it inspires. The film is about deep human emotions, evoked with sympathy and love.

Full Review Source: Chicago Sun-Times | Original Score: 4/4

September 1, 2011
Joe Morgenstern
Wall Street Journal
Top Critic IconTop Critic

This is a modest film, and an affecting one.

Full Review Source: Wall Street Journal

July 14, 2011
Nora Lee Mandel

[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 Source: | Original Score: 7/10

July 15, 2011
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