Life, Above All - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Life, Above All Reviews

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Roger Moore
Tribune News Service
January 11, 2013
A gripping African drama about a child who has to grow up too fast, who has to keep her family together and alive, and has come to terms with the AIDS stigma that her neighbors place on them.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
James Plath
Movie Metropolis
January 5, 2012
Art with heart.
Full Review | Original Score: 8/10
Philip Martin
Arkansas Democrat-Gazette
November 25, 2011
...there's an undeniable fierceness and intelligence in Manyaka's lead performance. She's far from a polished actor, but there's real steel there.
Full Review | Original Score: 83/100
John Beifuss
Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN)
October 14, 2011
The location settings are more compelling than the filmmaking, but the subject matter and the effective presence of young Khomotso Manyaka perhaps make this worth seeking out for those who are sympathetic to its subject matter.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
Rob Thomas
Capital Times (Madison, WI)
October 14, 2011
"Life, Above All" is an incredibly sad movie that never relies on sentimentality, and is as clear-eyed about the story as its forthright young heroine.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Kimberley Jones
Austin Chronicle
September 23, 2011
What makes it bearable but also beautiful and stirring is the central performance by the preteen, first-time actor Khomotso Manyaka.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/5
Marc Mohan
September 16, 2011
An imperfect attempt at addressing the continued reluctance of sub-Saharan societies to address the HIV plague in their midst.
Full Review | Original Score: C+
Top Critic
Rene Rodriguez
Miami Herald
September 15, 2011
A well-meaning but ploddingly earnest after-school special...
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
Tony Macklin
September 9, 2011
Life, Above All is 100 minutes of grief and courage. The film shows how South Africans failed to accept and deal with the reality of AIDS. It's a provocative and depressing plot.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/5
Josh Bell
Las Vegas Weekly
September 7, 2011
Manyaka brings grace and empathy to everything Chanda does, eliciting sympathy and understanding in spite of the movie's own awkwardness.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/5
Matt Pais
September 1, 2011
There are a lot of tears in Life, Above All, and they're all earned.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Roger Ebert
Chicago Sun-Times
September 1, 2011
"Life, Above All" earns the tears it inspires. The film is about deep human emotions, evoked with sympathy and love.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
Jim Lane
Sacramento News & Review
August 31, 2011
... more drudgery than enlightenment.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/5
Top Critic
Randy Cordova
Arizona Republic
August 25, 2011
Perseverance is the theme of "Life, Above All," a drama that is deeply affecting, if also overwhelmingly bleak.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
Top Critic
Tom Keogh
Seattle Times
August 19, 2011
There is less in-your-face grit in Cape Town-born director Oliver Schmitz's vision for this film than there is a careful pacing of somber revelations.
| Original Score: 3/4
Justin Strout
Orlando Weekly
August 17, 2011
Manyaka's performance is jaw dropping, entirely earning the neat little bow that the movie seems determined to put on top of her mission.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/5
Sarah Sluis
Film Journal International
August 15, 2011
Story about a South African girl struggling against AIDS stigma feels too rational and distant.
Top Critic
Joe Williams
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
August 12, 2011
In such a bleak story, the redemptive ending seems rushed and unconvincing, but director Oliver Schmitz has sent us a timely dispatch from a forgotten corner of the world that is honest above all.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Sarah Boslaugh
August 11, 2011
There are so many things I like about Life, Above All that I'm willing to forgive its minor flaws...
Full Review | Original Score: 8/10
Top Critic
Colin Covert
Minneapolis Star Tribune
August 5, 2011
This is a heartening story of resilience told without false uplift. It is hopeful without being mawkish, realistic but not oppressive.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
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