Once in the Life - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Once in the Life Reviews

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Jeffrey Westhoff
Northwest Herald (Crystal Lake, IL)
August 16, 2002
It reeks of staged theater: three men in one room talking endlessly.
Full Review| Original Score: 2/4
Top Critic
A.O. Scott
New York Times
January 1, 2000
Without a coherent story to hold our attention, the mood of somber, lower-depths desperation soon becomes monotonous.
| Original Score: 2/5
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Roger Ebert
Chicago Sun-Times
January 1, 2000
Billy's meltdown provides a real-time reality check, but for most of the time we're waiting for the payoff, and when it comes, I'm afraid, it's not very satisfying.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
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Henry Cabot Beck
Film.com
January 1, 2000
The film doesn't have a lot to offer that hasn't been done better -- and worse -- in hundreds of ghetto-sink shoot-em.

E! Online
January 1, 2000
Despite some pacing missteps, this well-acted and colorfully photographed film is a gripping, gritty look at a hard-knock Life.
Harvey S. Karten
Compuserve
January 1, 2000
Never loses its identity as a work meant strictly for the stage.
Full Review | Original Score: 7/10
Eric Monder
Film Journal International
January 1, 2000
Enough expertise has been lavished on this small film to make one almost forget that Once in the Life has been done more than once before.
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Kevin Maynard
Mr. Showbiz
January 1, 2000
While this cautionary tale of brotherhood gone wrong doesn't exactly break new ground, it certainly shows off its writer-director-star's triple-threat filmmaking potency.
Ken Fox
TV Guide
January 1, 2000
The good news is that Fishburne also stars, and has recruited a talented group of actors to flesh out the cast; the bad news is that no one seems to have been on hand to help out with the rest of film.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/5
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Michael Atkinson
Village Voice
January 1, 2000
While the line-readings are often dead-on, Fishburne's movie suffers from the usual one-room claustrophobia and Mametian repetitions.
Luke Y. Thompson
New Times
January 1, 2000
Strictly for die-hard Fishburne fans, and even they might be getting awfully fidgety by the end.
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Michael Wilmington
Chicago Tribune
January 1, 2000
Fishburne is able to create such an effective balance between humor and anxiety that the movie survives its familiarities of character and language.
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Kevin Thomas
Los Angeles Times
January 1, 2000
Absorbing and edgy.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
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Kirk Honeycutt
Hollywood Reporter
January 1, 2000
Serves only to demonstrate that Fishburne, a talented, inventive actor, is, unfortunately, not ready to write and direct motion pictures.
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Lou Lumenick
New York Post
January 1, 2000
Would easily qualify for an Oscar nomination if it were in a movie that was a bit less like canned theater and more cinematic.
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Robert Koehler
Variety
January 1, 2000
Despite numerous cutaways to juice things up, a movie that once moved becomes static and verbal in the stretch.
Sean O'Connell
Citysearch
January 1, 2000
The script bogs itself down in reminiscing passages that steal Life's soul.
Dave White
IFilm
January 1, 2000
Not embarrassing, just not all that interesting, either.
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Gene Seymour
Newsday
January 1, 2000
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.
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Gary Dowell
Dallas Morning News
January 1, 2000
A hit-and-miss effort.
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