From writer/director Dan Fogelman (This Is Us), his newest film Life Itself is an excruciatingly painful film that tries so desperately to be heartbreaking and emotional, that if often comes off as cheesy and laughable.
Official Synopsis: “As a young New York couple goes from college romance to marriage and the birth of their first child, the unexpected twists of their journey create reverberations that echo over continents and through lifetimes.”
Life Itself is truly this year’s Collateral Beauty. It is a film that essentially does not have a story, but rather, bits and pieces of random scenes stitched together in ways that are supposed to make the viewer become emotional. Almost the entire film has a sad tone to it, but the unfortunate thing is, there was not a single time while watching this film where there was sadness that could be felt whatsoever.
One of the worst elements of this picture is how truly disastrous the dialogue is, throughout the entire running time. There was at least five to eight lines of dialogue in this film that were absolutely awful and extremely cringe-worthy to have to sit through and listen to. After watching this film, one will be surprised as to how Fogelman, the writer of the critically and commercially successful television program This Is Us penned the script for this extraordinarily lazy and uninspired mess.
It additionally has some truly frustrating editing styles that bothered me immensely. So many scenes transition to the next in such a jarring way, that it became difficult to keep up with what was happening in the film from time to time. The writing style is also baffling, as it seems like the script was thrown together in a couple of days, just so the filmmakers could go out and shoot the film. Practically everything about Life Itself feels unfortunately rushed.
The only good actor in the entire motion picture is Laia Costa, who portrays Isabel. She is the one character in the film that actually has dialogue that is not extremely absurd and annoying.
This film additionally contained a story that I could not care less about. It is set up in such a poor and cheap way, and is executed even worse. I really wanted to like this film, as I love films that manage to make you tear up, but Life Itself is definitely not the picture to do that. If you are looking for a good film starring Oscar Isaac (who is not all that great in this film and rather forgettable) I highly recommend either 2011’s Drive or 2014’s Ex Machina. In both of those films, he delivers considerably better performances in virtually every single way.
With forgettable performances, awful writing, bizarre editing, and an excruciatingly bland story, Life Itself is a film that falls flat on every level.
Overall Grade: D-
MPAA Rating: Rated R for language including sexual references, some violent images and brief drug use
Cast: Oscar Isaac, Olivia Wilde, Mandy Patinkin, Olivia Cooke
Directed by: Dan Fogelman
Distributed by: Amazon Studios
Running Time: 117 minutes