The One Where I Wept for an Hour Straight: A review of Life Itself

photo by Anna Potter

Isn’t this photo beautiful—melancholy, droopy, dark, and beautiful? K good, harness that feeling, hold on to it tight while I prepare you for the next movie you need to see and the abundance of tears it will conjure.

Amazon Studios was kind enough to invite me to a special preview showing of their new movie Life Itself  last week (which comes out in theaters today), and it’s been a LONG time since a film has moved me like this one did.

My official review (as a totally unofficial reviewer)

To be honest, I really didn’t like it for the first 20 minutes. I had a few eye rolls and thought, “this is going to be a long night.” I assumed I knew exactly where the storyline was going, and I already felt slightly bored and annoyed. BUT then the plot turned, took me completely by surprise, and dare I say might be a new favorite film for me. It stirred up a lot of the same feelings I had when I saw Atonement for the first time, which is an all-time classic in my opinion. In Atonement, I was moved to tears and became lost in my own thoughts on the cruelty of life, its messiness, and the tragic truth that not everything can be fixed. In some ways Life Itself went even further down that road for me. It brought me to the point of feeling like nothing in life matters and every single little thing in life matters all at once, in an almost overwhelming way. And I really appreciate anytime a movie, show, song, or art makes me stop, sit down, and meditate on life in an existential vein because it takes me out of myself to examine life at-large.

I took a quick glance at other reviews out there after I wrote all this down for myself, and was surprised to see some not-so-glowing criticisms. But honestly, most of my absolute favorite books, shows, and movies are the ones that weren’t critically acclaimed so I say ignore those, go see this for yourself, then come back here and talk to me about it because I went and saw it alone and need pals to chat about it with, book club style! (This is really all about me in the end, duh 😉)

Other deep thoughts I had whilst watching:

  • “Damn, Antonio Banderas has aged like a fine wine.” (I still love you the most, hubs, don’t worry!)
  • “Did they really just shamelessly insert an Amazon Prime plug?” (bonus points to any of you who catch it)
  • “Man I love a good deep dive into the battle between hero and anti hero, what they mean, and the gray areas between them. CAN OBJECTIVITY EVER TRULY EXIST? CAN THE WORLD EVER BE TRUSTED?? And why didn’t I come early enough to buy all the popcorn and candy in this building?! Amateur mistake.”
  • “How dare they not provide me with a large crying rag to wipe my abundance of tears and snot this movie made my body produce. (TMI, deal with it.) Can everyone hear me blubbering? Why is my leather jacket so squeaky? Why did I even bother with makeup??”

As you can see, all the emotions were felt, haha. But seriously, to talk any specifics about the plot or the film would frankly only spoil it—the unexpectedness of it all was a part of the experience. So I’ll leave it at this: I highly recommend this film, especially if you like a good cry fest and a plot that feels like a substantial introspection of humanity and, well…you guessed it—life itself.

Another key lesson I learned this night: I need to go to the movies more often. They have leather recliners now with cup holders and food trays, guys. THEATERS HAVE BARS IN THEM NOW. You can get a freaking cocktail for yourself. And the food smells decent! And it was kind of fun going alone, on a date with oneself. Dare I become a regular cinema attendee? I just might, my friends, I just might.

Amazon Studios was kind enough to invite and treat me to a complimentary press showing of this film. All opinions and thoughts shared are my own.

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