Life (2015) - Rotten Tomatoes

Life (2015)



Critic Consensus: Life may frustrate viewers seeking a James Dean biopic with its subject's intensity, but it remains a diverting, well-acted effort assembled with admirable craft and ambition.

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Movie Info

A Life Magazine photographer receives the assignment to photograph rising Hollywood star James Dean.
R (for some sexuality/nudity and language)
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:
See-Saw Films

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Robert Pattinson
as Dennis Stock
Dane DeHaan
as James Dean
Joel Edgerton
as John Morris
Ben Kingsley
as Jack Warner
Lauren Gallagher
as Natalie Wood
Peter Lucas
as Nicholas Ray
Nicholas Rice
as Lee Strasberg
Kristen Hager
as Veronica
Kelly J. McCreary
as Eartha Kitt
John Blackwood
as Raymond Massey
Michael Therriault
as Elia Kazan
Caitlin Stewart
as Julie Harris
Kasey Lea
as Markie
Ron White
as Uncle Marcus
Eve Crawford
as Aunt Ortense
Kendal Rae
as Messy Actress
Drew Leger
as Boyfriend
Jason Blicker
as Journalist
Emily Hurson
as Publicity Trooper
Emma Pedersen
as John Morris' Secretary
Allison Brennan
as Jack Warner's Assistant
David Ross Paterson
as Premiere Driver
Mark James Fernandes
as Photographer #1
Stuart McLean
as Photographer #2
Anton Corbijn
as Premiere Photographer
Paulette Sinclair
as Building Manageress
Jack Fulton
as Rodney
David Talbot
as Reporter #1
Jimi Shlag
as Reporter #2
Steve Cumyn
as Reporter #3
Julian DeZotti
as Male Actor
Rebecca Eady
as Bar Girl
Barbara Gordon
as Grandma Dean
Stephen Joffe
as Senior Boy
Jessica Clement
as Senior Girl
Sara Waisglass
as High School Hop Girl
Adam Cabral
as High School Hop Boy
Renato Rizzuti
as Cab Driver
Andy Trithardt
as Reporter
Juno Rinaldi
as Mother
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Critic Reviews for Life

All Critics (54) | Top Critics (10)

Both Pattinson and DeHaan could have used more to do, but both actors put in performances that elevate the proceedings.

Full Review… | December 4, 2015
Toronto Sun
Top Critic

A moody, leisurely and occasionally frustrating piece of work ...

Full Review… | December 4, 2015
Globe and Mail
Top Critic

The actors and their exchanges ring true, and by the time the film reaches its lonesome conclusion, the resonances are eerie.

Full Review… | December 4, 2015
Top Critic

Dig, if you will, the pictures, but you don't need "Life" as a stargazing aid.

Full Review… | December 3, 2015
New York Times
Top Critic

I loved Ben Kingsley's over-the-top work as studio head Jack Warner, who in one scene explains the lay of the land to Mr. Dean in a manner that would inspire envy from Don Corleone. This guy isn't messing around.

December 3, 2015
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic

It ends up demystifying Dean, perhaps by accident but no less regrettably.

Full Review… | December 3, 2015
Toronto Star
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Life


An insufferable specimen of tabloid movie that is more concerned with being a who's-who of celebrities in 1955 instead of at least engaging as a narrative, and its failure can be attributed mainly to Pattinson (terrible) and DeHaan, who is completely miscast as James Dean.

Carlos Magalhães
Carlos Magalhães

Super Reviewer

It's about the photographer trying to make a name for himself at the same time James Dean is becoming popular. He takes the photos that end up in Life magazine. It's a good story with an interesting insight.

David Cauthen
David Cauthen

By the time he was twenty-four years old James Dean had starred in three major films, would become a cultural icon symbolizing the tone of teenage America, but he would also be dead. While this public persona of the "rebel without a cause" pushed Dean to the forefront of pop culture we come to learn in director Anton Corbijn's (The American, A Most Wanted Man) new film that the real Dean was not as his persona suggested, but more the quiet kid in an acting class simply searching for something tangible, something that wasn't as arbitrary as the fame he was suddenly coming into. In Life, we pick up with Dean in 1955 shortly after wrapping East of Eden and just prior to landing the role in Rebel Without a Cause-only seven months or so before his untimely death. Surprisingly, Dean is not the main character of this story though, no, that would be photographer Dennis Stock (played here by Robert Pattinson). Stock was largely a set photographer employed by Magnum, a photo agency, who met Dean at party thrown by director Nicholas Ray (writer/director of Rebel). At this point in time, prior to East of Eden coming out, Dean wasn't even a household name, but after the actor and Stock hit it off at the party and Dean invited his new friend to a screening of his new film it became clear to Stock that there was something unique about the young man who couldn't have seemed more estranged or disillusioned with the ideas Hollywood was throwing at him. It is in this attitude, this kind of presented exterior by Dean with which Corbijn is intent on exploiting and exploring through he and Stock's relationship. More than anything though, this is a film about the relationship that develops between two different types of artists: the one who creates and the one who pulls back the layers of that creation. read the whole review at

Philip Price
Philip Price

Super Reviewer

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