Life During Wartime - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Life During Wartime Reviews

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October 18, 2015
Enjoyable film by Solondz which is quirky, weird, and funny. Some good performances and the story is original. You've gotta wonder, though, about his choice of subject matter. Somebody should tell him that there are other ways to push the boundaries of black humour.
September 14, 2015
Blacker than black comedy from one of cinema's most delightfully spiteful directors. A angry yet elegant assault of the idiocy of the middle-class.
August 8, 2015
Strikes the right balance between funny, disturbing and truthful.
July 14, 2015
Y'a pas à dire. Le cinéma de Solondz est particulier. Un mélange entre Woody Allen et Wes Anderson. Tout ce passe dans les dialogues assez savoureux. L'humour noir et l'imaginaire des personnages. Pour public avertis seulement.
April 11, 2015
Though this film is a fractured part of related stories and characters -- it stands on its own as an examination of the human condition. Brilliant.
January 19, 2015
I'm not sure how I missed this gem from Todd Solondz who lives up to "Happiness" in this really good but not Great film.
January 10, 2015
I adore Paul Reubens.
½ March 16, 2014
A bizarre sequel to Happiness, this one never quite takes off but it is hardly a loser either. The theme of forgetting and what it entails is powerful throughout. I want to marry Allison Janney.
January 30, 2014
Todd Solondz is uber-brilliant. Can't wait to see this!
January 26, 2014
Good dark comedy. I love how it's a continuation from happiness without clearly stating it. Helps you to see where the family went after happiness.
December 21, 2013
Potent and uncomfortably funny continuation of characters Solondz created in the his 1990's film, HAPPINESS. An odd and unsettling film that comes close to being surreal.
August 3, 2013
A much weaker than I expected sequel to Happiness. The original didn't need a sequel, and the follow-up had little substance and nothing really new to say. The re-casting choices didn't always work. Signature Solondz black humor was present, but genuinely funny moments were few and far between, and little of a story there was, it wasn't really funny.
½ April 22, 2013
Another foray into Cinema of the Grotesque--The enemy is within!!
½ March 18, 2013
This is a stumbling, though interesting, attempt by Solondz to bravely reimagine the characters from his ``Happiness''. It doesn't really work, though it has a (very) few moments. It certainly doesn't capture whatever made Happiness so great. Even all that said, however, if you really loved Happiness, it's fascinating to see how Solondz comes back to the characters. I can't promise you'll like it, as it's largely mediocre, but it does make Solondz seem more human, for being able to fail to make a colossally excellent film, which I think just makes me like him all the more.
Super Reviewer
February 17, 2013
Eerily cheerful in this follow up to the first film. I hated the ensemble, I hated the fact that all the characters were replaced, not for good. But the screenplay was fantastic, as usual, very dark and deep. Life During Wartime did not fail to impress and entertain.
Super Reviewer
February 9, 2013
Then there's Life During Wartime, the sequel to Happiness. All the questions I never had are more or less answered here. Some of the references actually did put a smile on my face, but for the most part I found it dull. It's not much worse than Happiness, but that's not saying to much. I felt it was to colorful for the topics at hand, and never really accomplished anything.
January 22, 2013
The dark humor is just as relentless and awkward as the former film, Happiness, and just as funny and smart as well.
January 7, 2013
Greatest movie you probably never saw. Deserved to be one of that years best but was black listed given the subject matter. Like fight club, which also was blacklisted in theaters, I predict it will make a roaring comeback as cult film in the years to come. See it.
½ December 5, 2012
Todd Solondz shocked the audiences in 1998 with his daring tragicomedy "Happiness," a morbidly absurd tale of the hidden aspects of American suburbia. He daringly showed us a seemingly perfect lives of three sisters and their families, lives that hid deep anxiety, emptiness and pedophilia. The presentation was delicately comedic, but overall the movie was devastatingly serious and hopeless, even as it reached surprising levels of compassion.

11 years later Solondz returned with a sequel to his perhaps most praised movie. "Life During Wartime" shows what happened to the three sisters and how their American Dream(TM) is realized in a period when America is internationally shunned for its war in Iraq. This time the mood is much less comedic, even though the poignantly laconic irony is still there. The comedy is somehow harsher, more cruel.

Solondz has completely recast all the familiar roles with talented but often rather noticeably different actors. The decision to recast everyone is probably a wise one, but it does present an initial barrier for people familiar with "Happiness". But "Life During Wartime" is in every way very different from its prequel. It has been shot in a completely different way. It's saturated with color and shape, whereas "Happiness" was simple and realistic in its cinematography. The scope of the newer film is also broader, it embraces geopolitics and the question of U.S.A.'s identuty as a nation is no longer addressed only on the symbolic level.

In the end "Life During Wartime" emerges as a slightly unfocused but ultimately successful film that manages to deliver on its ambitious thematic premise.The fact that the tone and feel are so different compared with "Happiness" is perhaps a good way to emphasize the differences between the hopeful but self-delusional America of 1998 and the paranoid and cynical one of 2007.
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