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Once In The Life (2000)

tomatometer

28

Average Rating: 4.7/10
Reviews Counted: 25
Fresh: 7 | Rotten: 18

Once in a Life is a promising directorial effort by Laurence Fishburne. But the story is too conventional and similar to the many ghetto action/dramas that come before it.

36

Average Rating: 4.6/10
Critic Reviews: 14
Fresh: 5 | Rotten: 9

Once in a Life is a promising directorial effort by Laurence Fishburne. But the story is too conventional and similar to the many ghetto action/dramas that come before it.

audience

57

liked it
Average Rating: 3.1/5
User Ratings: 1,186

My Rating

Movie Info

Actor Laurence Fishburne makes his debut as a director in this urban drama adapted from his one-act stage play Riff Raff. 20/20 Mike (Fishburne) and his half-brother Torch (Titus Welliver) bump into each other under less than ideal circumstances -- both are in jail, Mike on parole violation and Torch for theft. Torch is a heroin addict who has trouble financing his habit, so when Mike says he has a plan to make some quick money, Torch is more than eager to help. Mike and Torch try to swindle

R,

Mystery & Suspense, Drama

Laurence Fishburne

Nov 6, 2001

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All Critics (28) | Top Critics (15) | Fresh (7) | Rotten (18) | DVD (6)

Billy's meltdown provides a real-time reality check, but for most of the time we're waiting for the payoff, and when it comes, I'm afraid, it's not very satisfying.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Chicago Sun-Times
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Fishburne is able to create such an effective balance between humor and anxiety that the movie survives its familiarities of character and language.

January 1, 2000
Chicago Tribune
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While this cautionary tale of brotherhood gone wrong doesn't exactly break new ground, it certainly shows off its writer-director-star's triple-threat filmmaking potency.

January 1, 2000
Mr. Showbiz
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Serves only to demonstrate that Fishburne, a talented, inventive actor, is, unfortunately, not ready to write and direct motion pictures.

January 1, 2000
Hollywood Reporter
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Talky in the best sense.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Entertainment Weekly
Entertainment Weekly
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Would easily qualify for an Oscar nomination if it were in a movie that was a bit less like canned theater and more cinematic.

January 1, 2000
New York Post
Top Critic IconTop Critic

It reeks of staged theater: three men in one room talking endlessly.

August 16, 2002 Full Review
Northwest Herald (Crystal Lake, IL)

Strictly for die-hard Fishburne fans, and even they might be getting awfully fidgety by the end.

January 1, 2000
New Times

The script bogs itself down in reminiscing passages that steal Life's soul.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Citysearch
Citysearch

Not embarrassing, just not all that interesting, either.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: IFilm
IFilm

The pingpong repetition of dialogue is more precious than poetic and heavy silences and actorly asides draw out a slim story that packs few dramatic surprises.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Seattle Post-Intelligencer
Seattle Post-Intelligencer

The good news is that Fishburne also stars, and has recruited a talented group of actors to flesh out the cast; the bad news is that no one seems to have been on hand to help out with the rest of film.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: TV Guide's Movie Guide
TV Guide's Movie Guide

Enough expertise has been lavished on this small film to make one almost forget that Once in the Life has been done more than once before.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Film Journal International
Film Journal International

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