by John M. Delia, Jr.
Our life experiences influence what we do in our future, and what our parents experience could also influence how we are as well. And in tragedy and death, we experience large amounts of loss that could also transfer to our unborn offspring. Lastly, we experience many ups and downs throughout our lifetime, and how we react to those good or bad experiences make up who we are and how strong our will is to survive. Keep moving along knowing that there will be good life experiences, even though you will always have many hurdles to overcome, as we see in Life Itself.
This is a story that is displayed in four parts. Each part depicts a different character or characters that have a role in the overall picture, starting not always in the beginning, not always at the end, and sometimes in the middle. Each character affects and influences all the other characters throughout the film, leading up to a final new story that explains the true meaning of Life Itself.
There are many interesting characters along the way, in life, and in this story. Will (Oscar Isaac) and Abby (Olivia Wilde) are very much in love since the day they met. They plan their life together facing things as they come. Javier (Sergio Peris-Mencheta) and Isabel (Laia Costa) live in a small town in Spain. Javier works for a very wealthy man, Mr. Saccione (Antonio Banderas), picking olives and enjoying his new life with Isabel. Dylan (Olivia Cooke), being raised by her grandfather, Irwin (Mandy Patinkin), is a young girl getting ready to begin her life as an adult and trying to understand what her future will bring her. Lastly, there is Rodrigo (Alex Monner), who wants to experience life away from home and eventually find someone to love.
Writer and director Dan Fogelman develops a story about life and how each and every one we meet will effect who we are or who we eventually become. He presents shocking events that include violent, but emotional, images to express dramatic events on his main characters. These events lead up to other stories that explain the eventual conclusion to this farfetched but extreme reality to our lives.
I found the experience somewhat disappointing, because the director included scenes or references to events that were not necessary to express the point being made. It seemed as if he was trying to duplicate the same format presented in the film Pulp Fiction to get some sort of reaction from the audience. Violent images and situations to describe a character’s past can affect how the person becomes in the future, but when you don’t use those items in the character’s later personality, it becomes noise. Another factor to consider is the trailer. It portrays this film very differently from what it displays, and it can be hard at times for your emotions to give this story a chance. Finally, I did enjoy the deep, meaningful message that was given throughout narrative.
I based my rating on the weak presentation of the storyline and the unnecessary use of some tactics, but liked the important message that was given throughout the story.