In This Our Life - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

In This Our Life Reviews

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October 18, 2016
good melodrama teams 2 WB 'biggies' dehavlind & davis with good results
July 12, 2016
1942's "In This Our Life," directed by a "The Maltese Falcon" fresh John Huston, finds Bette Davis at her most ... Bette Davis. In the film (spoilers ahead), she steals her sister's husband, dramatically berates a number of men just to make them feel small, drunk drives and hits a mother and daughter, gets in a high speed chase, and, to our dismay, dies prematurely at the film's end by recklessly zooming off a cliff, her car exploding in the aftermath. All this, to our surprise, happens in just ninety-seven minutes.
So "In This Our Life" is melodrama at its cheapest and most overwrought, but boring it isn't. Forgettable and overly preachy in its differentiations in righteousness, maybe, but when you have Davis as your villain and Olivia De Havilland as your angel in white, sneaky shoddiness is prolific yet hardly noticeable. We're too busy cackling and cracking asides to care about how manipulative, how transparent, the film really is.
Its plot, however laughably twisty it is, is killer. The thrills of the film all derive from the personal lives of Roy and Stanley Timberlake (De Havilland and Davis), a pair of sisters whose respective journeys in finding true love have been cyclonic, to put it lightly. Not because both are born lonelyhearts, but because Stanley, who exists to do little else besides cause mayhem, is incapable of falling for someone naturally and wholesomely: swiping another woman's property and ruining the life of another is more her speed.
Early on in "In This Our Life," Stanley victimizes the unsuspecting Roy by seducing - and then running off with - her betrothed (Dennis Morgan). But as this is a soap opera in which one sister must be bad and one must be good, Roy takes the high road and moves on with her life, finding romance with, to our liking, the spouse Stanley left behind. Stanley, in the meantime, continues on her rampage of destruction. All she can do, it seems, is cause trouble and dig herself a deeper grave.
On an overarching level, though, going over "In This Our Life's" timeline of flabbergasting events in detail ruins its bracing methods of entertainment. Perhaps it's no different than your average daytime soap, just lensed in black-and-white and given shiny studio treatment. But I'm not the first person to admit that even the rankest of melodrama is highly watchable, and "In This Our Life," putting aside the way its characters are nothing more than classic soaper stereotypes with inevitabilities to undergo, is of better quality than it should be.
In addition to its solid direction from Huston and the wide-eyed bewilderment that is Davis's delightfully campy leading performance, the film also realistically touches upon racial discrimination in the 1940s, a landmark for a film that would otherwise be jocularly crazy and comprehensively forgettable. But diamonds found within rough movies are not uncommon, and at least this one builds a wall of magnificent hamminess to assist its social commentary.
½ January 15, 2015
I got a life to live and I'm going to live it.

Stanley Timberlake is a spoiled niece of a rich business man who dumps her fiancé one night and runs off with her sister's husband. They head into the city and find life harder than they anticipated. The husband kills himself leading to Stanley coming crawling back to her family. When her family doesn't welcome her with open arms, life becomes hard for Stanley.

"She isn't like that."
"I don't know what anyone's like."

John Huston, director of Maltese Falcon, The Treasure of Sierra Madre, The African Queen, Annie (1982), The Man Who Would be King, Key Largo, The Asphalt Jungle, and Prizzi's Honor, delivers In this Our Life. The storyline for this picture is very compelling, well delivered, and reminded me of The Long Hot Summer with Paul Newman the way the characters were crossed and frustrated. The acting was outstanding and the cast includes Bette Davis, Charles Coburn, Olivia de Havilland, Billie Burke, and Hattie McDaniel.

"It's conceivable two people could leave the house the same night and not leave together."

I DVR'd this picture off Turner Classic Movies (TCM) some time ago because it was directed by legendary John Huston and was led by strong female performances. The plot sounded interesting and I can tell you it is delivered very well. Davis plays her character to perfection and the sub plots were very well delivered. I strongly recommend seeing this film.

"I can't think when you're this close to me."
"Then hold me closer. I don't want you to think."

Grade: A-
½ November 1, 2014
If it's good enough for the sinner, it's good enough for the saint... Even John Huston Couldn't Tame Bette Davis--A Film Slightly Ahead Of It's Time About Race Relations and Incest... Bette and Olivia - What More Can You Ask For!!
February 22, 2014
This isn't one of Huston's personal films, it is lauded with melodrama and soap operatic moments. What keeps it together is the chemistry and performances of Bette Davis and Olivia De Havilland. If you're able to keep away from the nostalgia of Classic Hollywood films, you'll realize the movie is just a step above mediocrity, but good enough to entertain. A typical Classic Hollywood product out of the studio system machine.
½ July 10, 2013
Complicated and Tragic....
April 16, 2013
2: This forgotten John Huston did not go where I thought it was heading. The story lacked narrative drive, especially in the first act, while the performances were a bit hit or miss. Bette Davis was high strung and potent as always, while Olivia DeHavilland was angelic, but nothing really stood out or drew me in. All in all I'd say the fact that this film is mostly forgotten is not an oversight.
Bill D 2007
Super Reviewer
June 17, 2012
Director John Huston's second film (after "The Maltese Falcon") was a "women's picture," believe it or not, but it has his masculine, maverick stamp all over it. It's depressing to me that so few people remember "In This Our Life." I had never heard of it until two weeks ago!

I suspect the major reason it has been ignored (suppressed?) is that it challenged white audiences to look at their racism. Quite a ballsy thing to do in 1942, especially given the fact that the United States had just entered World War II. Perhaps understandably, white Americans were in no mood to be criticized at the time of their supreme sacrifice.

I can understand that it was too tough to be appreciated in the 1940s, but why hasn't it been rediscovered since? Perhaps there's something about it that still cuts too close to the bone for white Americans. Let's not forget that most still live in all-white communities and wouldn't sell their house to a black family.

Bette Davis and Olivia de Havilland star as sisters in a charming small town. De Havilland has recently gotten married, and her sister (Davis) seduces the husband and runs off with him! And that's just in the first half-hour. Davis's character reveals more and more layers of narcissism and treachery.

There are hints of an unwholesome aspect to Davis's relationship with her uncle. Then in the last half-hour there is the cherry on her loathsome cake. She frames a young black man for a crime she commits. This young man is a servant who is practically part of the family and is struggling to put himself through law school. His mother, incidentally, is played by Hattie McDaniel, who just a couple years earlier had made history as the first black actor to win an Oscar (for "Gone With the Wind").

"In This Our Life" is not a great film, but it has so much merit. Its disappearance from film history is a gross injustice.
October 12, 2011
Huston - dirigindo seu segundo longa, após O Falcão Maltês -, Davis, De Havilland, Charles Coburn, Hattie McDaniel.

Figurinhas tarimbadas, mas a história e o modo como ela é contada não me parecem excepcionais. O que interessa é a caracterização de um personagem negro - numa fita hollywoodiana, de estúdio, com pedigree de sobra, salvo engano situada no sul dos EUA, no início dos anos 40.

Em boa parte do acervo do período, os afrodescednentes são retratados como caricaturas para efeito de alívio cômico (vide Pérfida e O Último Refúgio) ou como serviçais apatetados. Aqui, há um criado, sim, mas que fala e se comporta como uma pessoa normal, tem inteligência e ideias próprias - e almeja ser advogado.

Pode parecer risível, mas talvez seja um choque para quem estava acostumado com o preconceito e a condescendência gravados sem cerimômias em outros títulos do período, e que causam mal-estar. Naqueles tempos, a sociedade era assim; o cinematografia estadunidense refletia isso e, hoje, ela serve de testemunho.

Conforme registrado por outro comentarista, Nascida para Ser Má não selou o fim do estereótipo nas telonas, mas apontou, sim, para o início do fim, com uma figura representada naturalisticamente.
½ July 23, 2011
Following a slow start, In This Our Life unfolds into a fairly decent melodrama. Typical to many of the films Ms. Davis was making during the era, the film pits her against a fellow leading actress in an overblown tale of love affairs and high-drama. The difference here being the film's fearlessness in tackling more controversial topics including race relations, drunk driving and incest. The performances are fine, Davis and DeHavilland do well with the characterizations of the good and evil sisters, but it is of course Davis who steals the show with her villainous Stanley, creating a number of memorable moments during the final act. John Huston's direction is assured, as is the screenplay, with the two combining to form a film which only gets better with repeat views.
May 15, 2011
Bette Davis is sassy and gorgeous at age 34 in this fast moving old film. I'm in love again. I love everything she does past and the last of her future past. Good old Black and Whites. No pun intended. Olivia De Havilland is beautiful too. Little did she know years later she would be mistreated by Betty Davis in "Hush, Hush Sweet Charlotte." This movie expresses the injustice perpetrated on blacks during a dark time in American history. Sad but true. Good story great acting with multiple dealt with issues. Costumes and era finely expressed.
½ March 31, 2011
Bette Davis plays a young spoiled woman from a wealthy family who seduces and elopes with her 'good' sister's husband. The sister, Olivia De Havilland, eventually finds new happiness with Davis' jilted fiancà (C)e, but her wayward sibling reappears to wreak fresh havoc.

Davis plays the bitch to fever point, at times she looks maniacal. At the time of filming her husband became desperately ill and subsequent events led to a decline in her health as well, one which plagued not only this film, but several of her next ones as well. Nonetheless the manic energy of her portrayal suits her character most of the time, even though it gets unnerving in certain scenes.

Able support of De Havilland as yet another good girl. I wonder if she never just thought "ah shit, another film where I get to look doe-eyed and simpering while the other chick gets to do shots and wink at sailors"... But that aside, Olivia always played the good girl to a T, it must be said and she brings warmth and depth to a character that otherwise could be summed up in one sentence, not an easy feat.
Super Reviewer
October 13, 2010
Just by reading the synopsis on here, you can tell this movie involves a very complicated love story. I think it's a bit too complicated. It's an okay movie, but it's not great.
½ October 9, 2010
Overacting to the extreme - FABULOUS
½ September 14, 2010
Pedestrian Warners melodrama, but two vital factors give it a bit of spark - the always superb Olivia deHavilland, and John Huston, who provides visual energy and a great deal of drive to Howard Koch's often laborious script. I suppose it's primarily a Bette Davis vehicle - she's fun to watch, sure, but this really isn't up there in the pantheon of her finer performances. Not an overly edifying experience, but whatever. Demonstrates that Huston was an effective workman, for sure.
August 11, 2010
A grandious Melodrama directed by the Master John Huston starring the great Bette Davis
June 3, 2010
What's there to say about Bette Davis that hasn't already been said? ;....She play's "The Bitch" & she play's it well !!!
½ February 24, 2010
An enjoyable if overly theatrical drama where Bette Davis plays a 'bad girl' to good effect. The novel this is based on won a Pulitzer Prize but in truth this film is more pulp fiction, in that it's quite sensationalistic in its histrionics. But despite that it's entertaining, showcasing the skills of both Davis and director John Huston.
February 10, 2010
finally bette davis plays the bitch sister.....and she plays it pretty well, like every other role she plays. olivia de havilland is also very good as the good sister and may i add looks better than ever in this film
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