Life Itself - Tragedy upon tragedy, yet hope is on the horizon.
If there was one film I thought was going to be completely different as to how I anticipated, then this is it.
I was surprised to see this movie skip my local cinema, because as far as I knew, this was a theatre release in America. Although, I did read somewhere that a ‘select few’ would be screening Life Itself, which left me slightly puzzled & dubious regarding the films quality/integrity.
Life Itself is dark, morbid & depressing. There’s a lot of death, grief, sadness & decay. Unfortunately, once you think you’ve seen the worst of it & it could only get better from whichever moment you think begins it’s incline, you’re wrong. This movie hits & it hits hard.
The reason why I thought this movie was going to be a lot different as to how I anticipated, was due to it’s trailer. When I watched it, I thought ‘I haven’t seen a film about ‘life’ & it’s trials/tribulations in a long time, so this could only be good for the soul’. Well, as much truth as that thought did/does have, this movie delivered in a much heavier/weighted angle than I expected & the events that took place could only be described as the opposite to pleasantry.
A familiar face to our Ultra HD 4K screens at the moment is Oscar Isaac. He reminds me of an old friend I had, both in terms of physical appearance & general demeanor, so whenever I watch him in action, it gives me the impression that if my old friend ever pursued a career in acting, he would be Oscar Isaac. Regardless of my nostalgia, Oscar Isaac in Life Itself gives a solid performance. In fact, in every movie I have ever seen him in, he has put on a respectable show. In my opinion, he is a very convincing actor & he really gets into his roles like very few actors/actresses can. I wouldn’t be surprised if he convinces himself so much at times that he is who he’s portraying, to the point where when he goes home or goes out for the evening, he continues to talk or act like the respective character he’s assuming.
Olivia Wilde, Olivia Cooke & Antonio Banderas all feature in Life Itself & it’s a great cast. You even get a dose of Samuel L. Jackson! Key word, ‘dose’. All have significant roles to play & all deliver brilliantly. I have always thought that it must be a lot harder to portray grief, sorrow, anger etc. in a convincing manner, so in this movie, you’re led to believe it’s all real for these people & you’re swept along with them in their darker days.
There’s a popular series in the US called ‘This is Us’, which is a big hit out there, if not the world, and my girlfriend is also a part of that audience. The same director, Dan Fogelman, wrote Life Itself & you can tell. I’ve only ever watched a few minutes of This is Us, but the similarities between the two are highly noticeable. For e.g., the back & fourth, intertwining selection of multiple stories is the most obvious trait & is a respectable one.
This movie does tell it’s story in a, not so typical way, which is a big positive. Most of what happens is upsetting, but if you’re willing to forgive it for that and/or are happy to embrace anything that is thrown your way, especially in terms of emotional infliction, then I think you will enjoy this film. It made me teary, but I did my best to fight back the tears, so that’s what you’re in for here. Life itself can be cruel, yet we do try to cling on to the idea that no matter what happens, every cloud has it’s silver lining & Life Itself, the movie, supports this human ideology.