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The Life Before Her Eyes Reviews

Page 1 of 48
familiar s

Super Reviewer

February 17, 2011
This film reminded me of 'Stay'. But while I liked 'Stay', I didn't like this one much. The story is told in an unconventional way, and that's what goes against this movie. It was told in a very complex and confusing way, which while maybe smart and brilliant, but wasn't a fair decision in this case. The ambiguity wasn't applied effectively and I guess that the shoddy screenplay is to be blamed for that. On the other hand, I found the main plot of the movie to be quite impressive. Could have been far better... if only they'd executed it in an appropriate manner!!! The thoughtless and careless use of the subject matter makes the movie rated much lower than what it would otherwise have been worth of.
neverteaseaweasel
neverteaseaweasel

Super Reviewer

July 30, 2010
It's funny how insignificant teenage years seem when you're actually living them. Culture and media tell us that they are the defining years, that we will all look back someday and see them as the turning points in our lives. I'm not totally sure I buy into it, but apparently Vadim Perelman does. We see the days and events that defined Miss Diana's life, and, big surprise, they all occur within those glorious teen years. I wonder if at some point in all of our lives we are completely filled, everything is finally how it should be. Then, something happens and we break, and the moment defines everything else, rewrites everything to happen thereafter. The film is emotionally devastating. Very rarely is a story this intense or affecting. There is a major plot change close to the end of the film and I didn't totally understand it. Depending on how it was to be taken, it sort of changes my perception of the film. Then again, that could have been the point. It is a beautiful, dense film and I really think it would take multiple viewings to understand everything that was communicated, grasp all of the meaning.
maxthesax
maxthesax

Super Reviewer

August 9, 2010
I had no preconceived ideas about this film going in, other than I had heard that Uma Thurman had given a good turn in a dramatic role, so I was able to sit back and let the film unfold.

What appears on the surface to be a story about teen angst and overcoming not only a tragedy, but the mistakes you make in high school, both told in well balanced flash-backs, The Life Before Her Eyes has a plot twist that I found provocative and did not see coming (unlike Shutter Island).

I found the script to be intellegent and well crafted and the photography to be sublime. The traumatic tragedy is handled very well, giving you just a hint of gore without wallowing in it. Each flashback to those scenes is just different enough to continue to rachet up the emotional impact. There are themes that continue to fold back into themselves, like the scenes involving rain and water (the photography where you view events from underwater, making what you see somewhat blurry and distorted is wonderful and subliminally telling).

I became emotionally invested in the two high shool girls, who are obviously BFF before the term was coined, and found Uma's reflections on those days poignant, as triggered by the 15th year anniversary of the tragic school event.

I knew a girl in high school who not only looked a bit like Evan Rachel Wood, but embraced the rebelious, maverick nature she portrayed, so her performance, while a bit uneven, resonated for me, and I found it ironic that her older, more stable self, portrayed by Uma Thurman, was frustrated by her own young rebelious daughter.

Unfortunately there are a few scenes that are overwrought and melodramatic, which are all the more out of place when viewed in context with the rest of the film, but for each questionable scene there are moments of brilliance, from the beautifully crafted visuals to the scenes with Uma, as an art teacher, discussing art as a window into the essence of life.

I thought that the film had made a misstep when, about 3/4 through, it showed a flashback to the parochial school which had just put crosses on its expansive lawn to protest the abortion clinic in town; again, a beautifully crafted scene of visual impact - but it left me wondering why, with all the emotional baggage, Uma would choose to enroll her own child there. Of course this and the repeated use of Rod Argent's old Zombies song are all revealed in the closing act.
Chris G

Super Reviewer

April 14, 2008
The Life Before Her Eyes opens up with the typical high school day of not really caring about classes and dishing on who‚??s doing what with whom. But as Diana (Evan Rachel Wood) and Maureen (Eva Amurri) discuss life and death affairs in front of the bathroom mirror all hell breaks loose as a student, alienated and depressed, begins to pen fire throughout the school. Eventually he makes his way to the bathroom and the life changing event for these two girls.

Flash to twenty years later and Diana (Uma Thurman) is married with a child, but the past still haunts her. The events of that day leave a thick cloud over her world and dictates what she does and where her child goes to school. As the anniversary of the event approaches Diana finds that it is allowing for her life to spiral out of control.

This is an OK exercise in examining the teenagers we were and how they became the adults we are today. Wood and Amurri keep the audience interested while Uma begins to bore us to the point of annoyance. She either over sells it or under sells it and it coats the film in a funk that it doesn‚??t really get out of. A competent film that you‚??ve never heard of it does present an interesting premise, yet director Vadim Perelman tends to go a little to artsy with the film. It‚??s a slightly above average film at best that you‚??ll watch, roll over, go to sleep, and forget about in the morning like a nothing special dream.
LWOODS04
LWOODS04

Super Reviewer

September 1, 2009
Brian M. Wixson, Eva Amurri, Evan Rachel Wood

Diana is a suburban wife and mother who begins to question her seemingly perfect life--and perhaps her sanity--on the 15th anniversary of a tragic high school shooting that took the life of her best friend. In flashbacks, Diana is a vibrant high schooler who, with her shy best friend Maureen, plot typical teenage strategies--cutting class, fantasizing about boys--and vow to leave their sleepy suburb at the first opportunity. The older Diana, however, is haunted by the increasingly strained relationship she had with Maureen as day of the school shooting approached. These memories disrupt the idyllic life she's now leading with her professor husband Paul and their young daughter Emma. As older Diana's life begins to unravel and younger Diana gets closer and closer to the fatal day, a deeper mystery slowly unravels.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Tragic, sad, and heart breaking. That's what I think of after seeing this movie. Such amazing performances by Evan Rachel Wood and Eva Amurri. This has to be my favorite performance by both of them. This movie takes you back and forth from the past to the present. It gets you right at the begining of the film. Two best friends standing in the bathroom pleading for their lives, and yet the killer with the gun says only one of them will die, and then he asks the most horrific question. "Which one of you do I kill?" Leaving it up to the best friends to decide which one of them should be left alive. It keeps you guessing as to what happens until the end. Some people are disappointed with the ending, and really didn't understand it. But I say take away from it what you will.
Stefanie C

Super Reviewer

October 16, 2008
this movie was to disjointed in its time sequences to be classified as good.
Nani V

Super Reviewer

April 19, 2008
One of the films where I've been wanting to see for a while now. I believe Evan Rachel Wood is a talented young actress so, of course this film certainly got my attention.

This film takes you on the journey of a lost girl who's trying to find her true self. It's a must see!
Dann M

Super Reviewer

January 7, 2014
Uma Thurman and Evan Rachel Wood star in the dramatic thriller The Life Before Her Eyes. During a high school shooting two girls hide out in a bathroom and one of them is forced into making a choice that haunts the rest of her life. It's a rather intricate story that's told in flashbacks; so as to build suspense and mystery as to what happen during the shooting. And, there are some interesting reveals that add an extra layer of subtext to the film. Additionally, Wood gives a particularly strong and dynamic performance that's quite compelling. The Life Before Her Eyes has some problems with its pacing, but overall it delivers a powerful message about the choices we make in life.
Harlequin68
Harlequin68

Super Reviewer

May 27, 2009
[font=Century Gothic]In "The Life Before Her Eyes," Diana(Evan Rachel Wood) and Maureen(Eva Amurri) are high school students from different backgrounds and attitudes who are inseparable after a visit to the principal's office. Their bond is put to the test when Michael(John Magaro) goes on a shooting spree, cornering them in a bathroom. Then, he says he will kill one of them.[/font]
[font=Century Gothic][/font]
[font=Century Gothic]Diana(Uma Thurman) is married to Paul(Brett Cullen) and mother to Emma(Gabrielle Brennan). She teaches art history at a high school and is not looking forward to the annual remembrance of the school shooting.[/font]
[font=Century Gothic][/font]
[font=Century Gothic]"The Life Before Her Eyes" is a glossy and overdeveloped movie with suprisingly little genuine emotion. And that whole the heart is the strongest organ, sheesh...should have stuck with physics. And the ending is so convoluted that it suggests two possibilities, one more likely than the other. In fact, because of the movie's agenda, it barely scratches the surface when it comes to the theme of duality in life, starting with science and religion coexisting. Diana and Maureen are in a sort of indeterminate state for most of the movie, kind of like Schrodinger's Cat, neither alive or dead, which is altered by the viewer watching the movie. On the other hand, we are talking about the cliched embodiment of madonna and whore, here. They are also part of an event that will end the potential of many a young person.(Taking this to its extreme conclusion, you could say the same thing about abortion, but I would strongly disagree.) Well, that's how the media puts it when something like this happens in surburbia. And what about Michael? Did he have no potential or choices left?[/font]
Mark A

Super Reviewer

March 20, 2009
It is nearly impossible to write a review without giving away the plot, but this viewer will try. A beautiful film about a tragedy and its aftermath. This viewer recommends when viewing the DVD to make sure that you watch the special features. The film left many questions, most of which were answered in the extras. Uma Thurman as the elder Diana and Evan Rachel Wood as the teen Diana were entirely believable as two versions of the same person. Eva Amurri was totally believable as Diana's best friend, Maureen, the good little girl opposite Diana's wild child. Gabrielle Brennan played Diana's daughter Emma and was a pretty little thing without being too cutsie. Powerful emotions are unleashed and choices are made that will haunt even the most seasoned viewer. A timely tale of senseless violence and its long-lasting effect on those who are touched by it.
Audrey L

Super Reviewer

October 1, 2008
Watched this amazing film today and it's definitely a "watch more than once" film-given the widely diverse interpretations of the plot and the alleged "messages" of the director.Intriguing and captivating-with a style that has been misinterpretted as sloppy when it seems that the fragmented style is quite appropos for the subject matter.
No plot summary from moi-just a strong recommendation to check it out and share your thoughts with me.
Adam M

Super Reviewer

September 23, 2010
Drama about a woman named Diana who begins to question her life when she can't recover from a horrible event that happened at her old school years previously despite appearing to have got married, had a daughter and have a decent career. The action weaves between Diana's school life, the young Diana played by Evan Rachel Wood in a great performance and her grown up life as we learn how aspects of her her life seem to travel in circles until the final twist. A well acted and made darma/thriller.
neffielee
neffielee

Super Reviewer

August 29, 2010
Evan Rachel Wood and Uma Thurman play Diana in two different eras, which are intertwined throughout the movie. The younger Diana is wild and carefree teenager who is best friends with Maureen (played by Eva Amurri), who is shy and more subdued. They are faced with a traumatic ordeal as a school shooter traps them in a restroom and asks them to choose which one of them should die. Fifteen years in the future, the older Diana is a married mother who appears to have a perfect life, but it seems to be unraveling as the anniversary of the school shootings comes closer. The movie has a dream-like effect, not unlike Stay, which adds to the overall effect of the story. It's not an easy story to get through, as the topic is a horrifying reality; and there are also lot of controversial elements, which leads to many interpretations of the film. This film goes beyond the usual films of school shootings, into the haunting aftermath.
Laurence C

Super Reviewer

October 22, 2008
Goddamn.

I fully believe that, in all my exhaustive years of movie watching, I have never come across a film so chock-full of symbolism. Before any word on the many, many things that went wrong with The Life Before Here Eyes, it has to be said that the over-reliance on any metaphoric image, line of dialogue or peculiarity of the human body eventually gets so deadening, it kind of has to be seen to be believed. Watching this film alone, I still couldn't help but speak out to nobody ''goddamn''.

It is truly, truly a shame. Considering the strength of the source material, the potential take on either aborted dreams, the weight of life or grief (or... all three at once?) was nothing short of fascinating on its own. In some parts during the middle act, we kind of seize some of the subject matter's aspects, often when director Vadim Perelman is not stuffing our faces with loud, meaningful imagery, and letting his stage direction breathe on its own. While I'm into the positive, I cannot, too, skip the fine work of three very good lead actresses. Evan Rachel Wood plays a character that she has kind of already explored before, but is nonetheless very capable of injecting life into a difficult role. Eva Amurri is a perfect contrast, more often than not playing the subtle nuances of a very important part. Their chemistry also makes their on-screen couple much more engaging than the picture than surrounds it. As for Thurman, she does her best in playing a character whose trauma is anything but cinematic. Replacing words that sustained her inconsolable melancholy with contrived situations and constant flashbacks sadly contributes to a largely miswritten part.

But, although it's been said countless times already, it seems like it still has not been said enough : some literary devices, when translated to the big screen, just don't fucking work.

And that is exactly what happens in Perelman's second effort. It doesn't fucking work. Without revealing the film's pivotal moment and most 'significant' scene, I still have to mention that having your audience getting invested into a certain concept, and then yanking the rug directly under their feet is an extremely risky trick to pull in movies-- one that was masterfully handled in Kasischke's haunting novel. The move could easily be compared to pulling out a tablecloth from under a couple of plates.

Needless to say, by the end of The Life Before Here, more than a few plates crash on the floor. The epilogue that was in the book surely couldn't be translated onscreen, but by god, shouldn't they have tried something a little bit less cloying? Anyway, it's only worth seeing if you've read Laura Kasischke's novel and you want to see a perfect textbook of misguided adaptation ideas.
Erin C

Super Reviewer

January 25, 2009
Definitely not what I thought it was going to be. I expected so much more from this movie, and the end leaves you saying "wtf?"
MagnusMagica
MagnusMagica

Super Reviewer

April 14, 2008
"When I was a little kid I used to love hanging out in the rain. Drove my mom nuts. But I watched the flowers. Some would get crushed but some would burst back up after. So cool."
A powerful and original film by director Vadim Perelman, about coming to terms with your own identity and the choices you make in life.
Great performances by both Uma Thurman and the always brilliant Evan Rachel Wood. Also great performance by John Magaro as Michael Patrick.
Fantastic cinematography by Pawel Edelman and a mesmerizing and haunting score by James Howard.
Janice :

Super Reviewer

March 13, 2008
Tons of potential, poorly executed.
Still unsure if I appreciate the ambiguous ending, but one thing is sure: acting needs to be polished.
Captures emotions very well, but tends to drag on.
At times very confusing - and yes, the ending is one of those scenes.

Recommended to those who enjoy the genre.
shanehaley41
shanehaley41

Super Reviewer

November 24, 2008
opening credits kinda put you to sleep, the movie jumps around within the main characters life from high school where a major tragedy happens to her adult life, some of the times for very mundane reasons that they think the audience wouldn't be able to put together themselves. Through the movie you see what its like to be a survivor of a catastrophe and still be a functioning part of society. The jumps back keep leading up to the major event where her or her best friend get shot by a fellow student gone off the deep end wielding an automatic machine gun. I'll just say that the end was kinda a let down so as not to spoil it anymore than it did itself.
Lovable M

Super Reviewer

November 18, 2008
Good, interesting movie.
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