Movie Review: Life Itself

Movie Review: Life Itself
I really don't even know how to review this one, but I'll give it a shot. Life Itself separates itself into three distinct chapters, focusing on three different heroes/heroines, and is quite different from how the the trailer might lead you to believe.

The pretty vague IMDb synopsis is:
As a young New York couple goes from college romance to marriage and the birth of their first child, the unexpected twists of their journey create reverberations that echo over continents and through lifetimes.

In reality, the movie has three chapters, like I just mentioned. At the beginning of the movie, we meet Will (Oscar Isaac), who is severely depressed because his wife has "left him"—that's his wording. He has been in an institution for three months and is now out, and is doing therapy sessions with Dr. Morris (Annette Bening). We also see flashbacks of him and his wife, Abby (Olivia Wilde), and we see how happy they were; they meet in college, later get married, and then were expecting the birth of their child, a girl.

No spoilers but something happens that erases all of that happiness, in one fell swoop, which brings us to Will's current mental state at the beginning of the film.

The second two chapters in the movie focus on people that are related to Will; the second part focuses on his daughter, and the third focuses on a seemingly unrelated couple in the Andalusia region of Spain. You'll find out later how they are related, and it's a whopper (and MAY even be worth the wait, though I figured out pretty early on what would happen), but it takes a long time to get there, and it also means that almost half of the movie is in Spanish with English subtitles. I don't mind subtitles, but that's not foreshadowed in the trailer at all, for those who dislike them.

Maybe see this movie. It's a film I'm still thinking about today (one day after viewing it), for sure, but I also did feel a bit letdown—the trailer made the movie seem like it was going to be a happy film about Oscar Isaac and Olivia Wilde's characters, and their romance, and they are barely in the movie. I also liked that the film was written by Dan Fogelman, from This is Us, currently one of my favorite TV shows. Instead, the film is actually very sad—even depressing, in parts—and also very much deserves its R-rating, due to language and also one particular scene in Dr. Morris's office.

I can't really say anything else about the movie without spoiling it ... if you like films that focus on different characters whose lives eventually interconnect, you may like this movie. If you prefer films that have a clear, coherent plot, you probably will not.

Life Itself is in theaters today, September 21st, and is rated R with a runtime of 118 minutes. 3 stars out of 5.

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