Once in the Life (2001)



Critic Consensus: Once in a Life is a promising directorial effort by Laurence Fishburne. But the story is too conventional and similar to the many ghetto action/dramas that come before it.

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Movie Info

Actor Laurence Fishburne makes his debut as a director in this urban drama adapted from his one-act stage play +Riff Raff. 20/20 Mike (Fishburne) and his half-brother Torch (Titus Welliver) bump into each other under less than ideal circumstances -- both are in jail, Mike on parole violation and Torch for theft. Torch is a heroin addict who has trouble financing his habit, so when Mike says he has a plan to make some quick money, Torch is more than eager to help. Mike and Torch try to swindle … More

Rating: R (adult situations/language, violence)
Genre: Mystery & Suspense, Drama
Directed By:
Written By: Laurence Fishburne
In Theaters:
On DVD: Nov 6, 2001
Trimark - Official Site


as Freddie Nine Lives

as Freddie Nine Lives

as Ruffhouse

as Little Billy

as Little Mickey

as Precious
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Critic Reviews for Once in the Life

All Critics (28) | Top Critics (15)

While the line-readings are often dead-on, Fishburne's movie suffers from the usual one-room claustrophobia and Mametian repetitions.

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
Village Voice
Top Critic

Serves only to demonstrate that Fishburne, a talented, inventive actor, is, unfortunately, not ready to write and direct motion pictures.

January 1, 2000
Hollywood Reporter
Top Critic

Despite numerous cutaways to juice things up, a movie that once moved becomes static and verbal in the stretch.

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
Top Critic

In opening up his play for a filmed version, Once in the Life, Fishburne may have only succeeded in magnifying the flaws of his original.

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
Top Critic

A hit-and-miss effort.

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
Dallas Morning News
Top Critic

Needlessly convoluted storytelling, talkiness and misplaced narrative emphasis.

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
Houston Chronicle
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Once in the Life

I had a small part in this film as the desk clerk at the apartment building. Had alot of great conversation with Lawrence. Great direction. Made me feel comfortable. Thanks Lawrence!

Crystal Glass

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