Once in the Life - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Once in the Life Reviews

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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
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.
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
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.
| Original Score: 6/10
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
Top Critic
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.
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
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.
Sean O'Connell
Citysearch
January 1, 2000
The script bogs itself down in reminiscing passages that steal Life's soul.
Ryan Cracknell
Apollo Guide
April 9, 2001
| Original Score: 52/100
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
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.
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.
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
Dave White
IFilm
January 1, 2000
Not embarrassing, just not all that interesting, either.
Top Critic
Gary Dowell
Dallas Morning News
January 1, 2000
A hit-and-miss effort.
Top Critic
Eric Harrison
Houston Chronicle
January 1, 2000
Needlessly convoluted storytelling, talkiness and misplaced narrative emphasis.
Emanuel Levy
EmanuelLevy.Com
July 17, 2005
| Original Score: 2/5
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.
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.
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