The Life Before Her Eyes

Is there anything quite so painful as failed awards-bait? Ambition and accomplishment are aeons apart in this would-be meaningful drama about a high school shooting and its effect on student Evan Rachel Wood, as she looks back years later, having blossomed into nervy wife-and-mother Uma Thurman. You’d imagine this would require no little sensitivity.

But although the director’s sparing with the carnage, he cuts back and forth to a key confrontation involving Wood, best pal Eva Amurri (Susan Sarandon’s daughter, the movie’s brightest spot) and their killer classmate with all the crassness of a fairground barker. In the meantime, snippets of her life then (rebellious yet uncertain) and now (brittle and fearful) are rendered painfully ominous. Blame James Horner’s overbearing score, numerous crashing ironies, arty nature shots and (wait for it) a philosophy lecture that explains but does not fully prepare us for a tacky sub-M Night Shyamalan climactic ‘twist’, sending the torment factor off the scale.

Release details

Rated: 15
Release date: Friday March 27 2009
Duration: 90 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Vadim Perelman
Screenwriter: Emil Stern
Cast: Uma Thurman
Evan Rachel Wood
Eva Amurri
Oscar Isaac
James Urbaniak

Average User Rating

3.8 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:1
  • 4 star:0
  • 3 star:1
  • 2 star:0
  • 1 star:0
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Joh

Not flashback, it's flash forward. Lead character is NOT enrolled at a Catholic School - her daughter is. NY reviewer shows little understanding about why 17 y/o girls do the things they do - self-hate among them - and the final comments are borderline offensive in their projection of his own values. Agree with the comments about overt Christianity but again the point is missed about the final choice she makes - the capacity to do other than would be expected, an act of true individual agency.

Helen

I really really enjoyed this film and i thought it was very clever the way the film leaves clues to the ending. It was a different idea and i loved it.

Helen

I really really enjoyed this film and i thought it was very clever the way the film leaves clues to the ending. It was a different idea and i loved it.