Film Review: LIFE ITSELF (directed by Dan Fogelman)

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by Joan Alperin on September 18, 2018

in Film


Writer/director Dan Fogelman is currently represented on TV with his creation This Is Us, which follows two parents and their three children, born on the same day as their father. Now entering its third season, the NBC show takes place in the present but also utilizes flashbacks so we see how events in the past shape who the characters are today.

In Life Itself – which opens in cinemas this week — Fogelman uses a similar technique, but now weaves together a story that concerns multiple couples over numerous generations and how they are all connected by one event.

It begins with Will (excellent Oscar Isaac) and Abby (Olivia Wilde), who are first shown at a college party, where Will says he’s “just waiting for the right moment” to ask her out. “Because when I ask you out, there’s not going to be any turning back for me.” At one point, he becomes the narrator of his story informing us that “he loves her like a stalker.”

We then find a disheveled Will at the office of his shrink (Annette Bening), where he relates that it’s strange to think about how a completely random moment would shape an entire life. Then it’s back to Abby and Will, now madly in love, married and pregnant.

Fate will link them to Dylan (Olivia Cooke) a troubled young woman trying to find her way in the world, and her grandfather Irwin (Mandy Patinkin). Then it’s off to Spain where we meet a rich plantation owner, Mr. Saccione (the wonderful Antonio Banderas), his plantation manager Javier (Sergio Peris-Mencheta), and Javier’s wife Isabel (Laia Costa) and their son Rodrigo (Alex Monner). It’s their poignant story that will take one of them back to where the film began — the streets of New York City.

Spanning decades as well as continents, the film explores the human condition and all its complications: love, family, tragedy, joy, fate and — in the end — life itself. While some may see this tearjerker as manipulative, I absolutely loved every second of it, my favorite of the year so far.

Life Itself
Amazon Studios
U.S.A. | 117 minutes | rated R
in wide release September 21, 2018

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Shelly Nickerson September 22, 2018 at 9:56 am

My favorite movie this year. DO NOT MISS IT! Buy a ticket today and tell your friends!!!


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