Life will surprise you in this unexpected twist of a tale that follows the story of one couple from college romance to birth of their first child; but, it’s even more vast than that as that couple is connected to another family in another country across the ocean in just a matter of seconds.
Life Itself combines elements of The Disaster Artist in a storytelling method told through various points of view, but always by one voice, that of a young girl whose true identity is revealed as the story unfolds. Dan Fogelman, who is most known for creating the hit TV seriesThis Is Us, uses the same timeline to tell the stories of two families, beginning with Will and Abby, who fall in love and, through a twist of events, end up leaving an orphan child, Dylan, to grow up under the care of Will’s parents in New York City.
Fogelman uses chapters to explain this complex story, which is an intriguing concept as it keeps the audiences attention as they attempt to figure out how the Gonzalez family in Europe could possibly be connected to a white couple in NYC. At the same time, it mirrors the same fact that these two families have a child burdened with the sudden death of a woman hit by a bus, though how they are connected will surprise even the most adept film buff.
Lastly, Fogelman opens the film inside a film concept, making you see that the whole idea of the movie is part of a larger work of art, which is unveiled as the film plays out. It’s an idea that spans multi-generationally and the use of chapters breaks up the story so that the viewer can take a step back and understand every character and how they are important to the larger plot.
Life Itself stars several big name actors including Oscar Isaac, who may be most known from the latest Star Warssaga as Poe Dameron. In this romantic drama, audiences will see Isaac in his most dramatic role yet as he must play a grief stricken man who must come to terms with the sudden death of his wife, Abby (Olivia Wilde). Ultimately, we see a shift in a young man who is deeply in love with a girl who must handle depression and distraught when she is taken from him so suddenly. Issac does an exceptional job displaying that type of emotion in what is supposed to be only a six month time frame as his actions elevate with time as a person who doesn’t know how to cope.
Additionally the film also stars Antonio Banderas in a somewhat interesting role as he takes in the family of his nephew, Javier (Sergio Peris- Mencheta) after his son Rodrigo witnesses a traumatizing event that places him in counseling with the financial aid Banderas’ character. It’s a heart breaking tale of a family that ends up having a happy ending when Rodrigo enrolls in a New York university where, through a course of events, he ends up meeting and falling in love with a young girl, Dylan, who has a similar past.
Life Itself also follows that of another movie from the 2000s, Crash, which shows how various individuals in Los Angeles are connected in mysterious ways, but it adds an additional element, that of distance and time to show how one event that happens can affect so many people on a multigenerational platform.
Verdict: 4 out of 5
Life itself is a movie that all ages can enjoy, though it does contain some profanity that may not be suitable for young children. Ultimately it is a movie that will surprise you and keep you wondering until the last scene as the ending will have you wondering, where did that come from and what will happen next all in the same course of events.