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Life Itself” is what happens when too many people watch This Is Us and a studio wants to bring the same crass sentimentality to the big screen. What works as a serialized drama is forced to compress and over-saturate in two hours at the cinema. The film is divided into five chapters each work in and out of sequence. All the while, today’s brightest stars get to whine and mope about love and their inability to control their loves. Olivia Wilde is the only one that gets a gracious exit from this melodrama, but I will leave it at that.

The level at which this films wants you to take it seriously is insulting. Hell, the sheer quality of cast being forced to slum through this material feels like a sick joke. Think of all of those films that fall apart or legendary adaptations that never came together due to financing or whatever else. Then, keep that in the back of your brain while you watch Life Itself. Most won’t care, but others will have that kernel percolate in their subconscious until it brews something wicked.

Anger is an energy. That line of thought will return later this week, but it hangs true here. When we met Oscar Isaac at the start of this film, he can’t figure out where everything went wrong. He loves Dylan, Pulp Fiction and Olivia Wilde. Things should be moving along great unless he happens to own a Crock Pot. Then, life happens.

Life Itself review picture

Well, a distraction from a Hispanic young man gets the bus driver’s attention at the wrong time and we have that M, Night Serling style twist that made the person in front of me scream ARE YOU SHITTING ME? in a small screening room of about 70 people. This lady was very pregnant and didn’t seem to buy the durability exhibited by Olivia Wilde’s heavily preggo lady character. I would give her a name, but that’s more concern for an identity that doesn’t quite exist in this movie.

A few years ago, there was a point in “Collateral Beauty” where I wondered if any major studio would try to tackle the all-star idiocy on display in that movie. Well, Amazon Studios dropped 10 million dollars on the film equivalent of Dan Fogelman telling Will Smith to hold his beer. Watch it before the Internet bottom feeders turn into Gotti Part 2.


  • 1 hr and 58 mins
  • R
  • Amazon Studios


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