The Life Before This (1999)




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Movie Info

Exploring concepts of fate and free will, Jerry Ciccoritti's contemplative drama shows the lives of a handful of random people during the 12 hours leading up to a bloody shooting spree in a posh coffee shop. Maggie (Emily Hampshire) is a waitress in the café whose acting career is going nowhere fast. Her co-worker Connie (Sarah Polley), who is learning to love her lawyer boyfriend, is supposed to have the day off. Sheena (Catherine O'Hara), who frequents the shop, is a lovelorn bridal consultant looking for a decent man. And Brian (Stephen Rea), an exterminator/philosopher, is still mourning the death of his daughter, who died a year ago. Their petty, everyday problems gain ironic resonance when juxtaposed with the day's bloody ending. This film was screened at the 1999 Toronto Film Festival.
R (violence)
Directed By:
Written By:
First Look Pictures


Stephen Rea
as Brian
Joe Pantoliano
as Jake Maclean
Sarah Polley
as Connie
Emily Hampshire
as Margaret
Callum Keith Rennie
as Martin Maclean
Leslie Hope
as Alice
Alison Pill
as Jessica
Alex Appel
as Rain
Bernard Behrens
as Monsieur Farrin
Martha Burns
as Gwen Maclean
Dan Lett
as Sam
Albert Schultz
as Sheena's Date
Jacob Tierney
as Justin
Nina Shock
as Phoebe
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Critic Reviews for The Life Before This

All Critics (5)

This one's a turkey.

Full Review… | December 31, 1999
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

Quote not available.

September 15, 2005

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Full Review… | July 24, 2001
Apollo Guide

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December 31, 1999
National Post

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December 31, 1999

Audience Reviews for The Life Before This


The Life Before This has got to be one of the most underrated films of all time and it's such a shame that it isn't more well known. The film starts off with a shooting rampage at a coffee shop, which kills multiple people, and then the film follows the lives of multiple characters in the short time span leading up to the tragic event. While the film is a bit undercooked around the edges, it is an absolutely beautiful and compelling mess of a film with many great ideas that could have been reached their full potential had this film perhaps had a longer running time. I loved how it explored the lives of its fascinating characters whose lives are spiralling out of control even before the tragic event. It's a beautiful film and also an extremely underrated one. It might be somewhat flawed, but I do believe that it certainly worth seeing at least once because it is a unique and compelling film.

Keenan Sullivan
Keenan Sullivan


Leo L
Leo L

Super Reviewer

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