Life, Above All - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Life, Above All Reviews

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Sarah Sluis
Film Journal International
August 15, 2011
Story about a South African girl struggling against AIDS stigma feels too rational and distant.
Ilya Tovbis
Slant Magazine
July 19, 2011
It has its heart in the right place, but it quickly begins to bleed at the edges, and soon these edges come to dominate the film's core.
Full Review | Original Score: 1.5/4
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
Top Critic
July 15, 2011
The script groans beneath a mass of symbolic winking and declamatory exposition that has the unfortunate effect of turning the villagers into credulous simpletons, ready to blow with any wind that carries them.
Jim Lane
Sacramento News & Review
August 31, 2011
... more drudgery than enlightenment.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/5
Matt Bochenski
Little White Lies
May 26, 2011
With a lighter touch, Life, Above All could have been the redemptive and insightful experience it so desperately yearns to be.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/5
Top Critic
Eric Kohn
July 14, 2011
Although loaded with dramatic consequence, "Life, Above All" is slight.
Michelle Orange
July 14, 2011
In straining to make this a borderless story of toxic prejudice, Schmitz lost sight of the specificity that could have made it more powerfully universal.
Full Review | Original Score: 6/10
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
Top Critic
Melissa Anderson
Village Voice
July 12, 2011
Life, Above All suggests that ignorance and stigmatization are a problem only in the village, not in the highest office of government.
Top Critic
V.A. Musetto
New York Post
July 15, 2011
A downer that too often resorts to melodrama.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
Top Critic
Rene Rodriguez
Miami Herald
September 15, 2011
A well-meaning but ploddingly earnest after-school special...
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
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+
Alexandra Cavallo
Boston Phoenix
August 3, 2011
A grave, quietly moving coming-of-age tale of a young girl raised in a village where many (her infant sister, in this case) are robbed of the opportunity to come of age at all...
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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
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
Lucy Barrick
Radio Times
May 26, 2011
The subject matter is undeniably grim, but there's hope and forgiveness at the heart of this South Africa-set drama.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/5
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
Top Critic
Joe Morgenstern
Wall Street Journal
July 14, 2011
This is a modest film, and an affecting one.
Nora Lee Mandel
July 15, 2011
[T]he young stars are so emotionally mature. . . almost too extraordinarily resourceful and heroic in managing family crises and facing death [but] inspire adults.
Full Review | Original Score: 7/10
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