‘Life Itself’ ~ Review

The trailer for this film definitely lured me in. I remember watching it at several different times and deciding that I’d need to watch it. And so I found myself house sitting for my parents in June and one evening I settled down to watch this film with a glass of red as the sun set in an orangey glow outside over the gravel drive and pond.

I’m a sucker for a tearjerker. I don’t often cry in public. Or try not to. I find film a huge outlet for me with regards to my emotions. I think it’s why I love film so much. I don’t have to hold back. Although don’t get me wrong, if I’m sat there with friends or family; I still try to pretend I’m not crying. I do that thing where I look slightly off centre to the television so that I’m not actually looking at whatever it is that’s making me well up. Or I try my best to start thinking about something else. I roll my eyes to the left and right to see if the people around me also feel what I feel. Maybe I’m the only one that does this! Haha. But I don’t think so. We’re all a little bit reluctant to cry I think.

Anyway, at the end of this film I cried a lot. I was so moved that I wanted to read the reviews about the film. And not many of them were good at all! I was shocked.

In short the film is 1 story split into 3 stories that take place over several decades and where lives intertwine. It shows the story before a couple meet and their individual backgrounds and stories, and then it shows them when they meet, and then after they meet. It shows the meaning behind the decisions they make, and the consequences of their actions, and all the chance encounters in between that readjust the order of their lives.

Having read a lot of the reviews it seems like most have some sort of vendetta against Dan Fogelman (the director) I picked up that the two characters – Dylan and Rodrigo – would end up meeting as soon as it was presented as a possibility, so that did not come as a surprise. And the predictability of that realisation didn’t taint the experience for me. I found myself more drawn into that classic ‘sliding doors’ way of thinking; whereby our choices, even the small ones can dramatically impact our future selves and lives and those of our descendants.

This way of thinking about life is something I am consistently fascinated in. And although some may dismiss a lot of this film as romantically far fetched fate and unlikely connections that bring people together; isn’t this just exactly the essence of every single one of our lives? If my grandfather hadn’t trodden on my grandmothers toes whilst getting to his seat at the royal Albert Hall circa 1948 then I certainly wouldn’t be here today.

I cried my eyes out in the sections where I felt the intensity of human fragility, but in the same breath celebrated the hope that was portrayed for the future. I didn’t look at the reviews before I watched this and I’m glad I didn’t as I probably wouldn’t have watched it. It is certainly deserving of being watched. There are some poignant moments that I could identify with pretty profoundly. Contrary to what the critics say.

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