Once in the Life - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Once in the Life Reviews

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Top Critic
Kevin Thomas
Los Angeles Times
January 1, 2000
Absorbing and edgy.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
Top Critic
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.
Top Critic
Owen Gleiberman
Entertainment Weekly
January 1, 2000
Talky in the best sense.
Full Review | Original Score: B

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.
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.
Top Critic
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.
Top Critic
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.
Emanuel Levy
EmanuelLevy.Com
July 17, 2005
Read More | Original Score: 2/5
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
Ryan Cracknell
Apollo Guide
April 9, 2001
Read More | Original Score: 52/100
Top Critic
Gary Dowell
Dallas Morning News
January 1, 2000
A hit-and-miss effort.
Sean Axmaker
Seattle Post-Intelligencer
January 1, 2000
The pingpong repetition of dialogue is more precious than poetic and heavy silences and actorly asides draw out a slim story that packs few dramatic surprises.
Read More | Original Score: 6/10
Top Critic
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.
Top Critic
Eric Harrison
Houston Chronicle
January 1, 2000
Needlessly convoluted storytelling, talkiness and misplaced narrative emphasis.
Top Critic
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.
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.
Read More | Original Score: 2/5
Top Critic
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
Top Critic
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.
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
Sean O'Connell
Citysearch
January 1, 2000
The script bogs itself down in reminiscing passages that steal Life's soul.
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