The Life Before Her Eyes
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Based on author Laura Kasischke's novel The Life Before Her Eyes, House of Sand and Fog director Vadim Perelman's provocative study of memory, morality, and conscience stars Uma Thurman as the guilt-ridden survivor of a harrowing, Columbine-like high-school shooting. To any outsider, Diana (played as a young girl by actress Evan Rachel Wood) and Maureen (Eva Amurri) were polar opposites; Diana was always questioning authority, while Maureen quietly went about fulfilling the expectations of her devoutly religious family. Yet it was precisely theses differences that drew the two girls to… More

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Rotten Tomatoes Score: 24%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"Ambition and accomplishment are aeons apart in this would-be meaningful drama."
‑ Trevor Johnston, Time Out
"Thoroughly thought through and photographed with imagination and psychological penetration, it's the product of a very shrewd directorial hand."
‑ Mick LaSalle, San Francisco Chronicle
"A hopelessly overblown melodrama, which oversteps its mark with pretensions of narrative complexity and social currency"
‑ Leo Goldsmith, indieWIRE
"An American high school drama with a tiresomely familiar twist."
‑ Philip French, Observer [UK]
"A touching tale from director Vadim Perelman with a surprise ending that leaves you plenty to ponder."
‑ Allan Hunter, Daily Express
"In the end, Life is a challenging success, with Wood's performance again affirming her status among the young generation of actors, and Perelman's vision promising more intrigue to come."
‑ Tom Long, Detroit News
"Perelman never overcomes the disjuncture of having two familiar actresses play the same grown character, and despite the endless crosscutting, the two halves settle respectively into ghoulish foreboding and murky psychological drama."
‑ J. R. Jones, Chicago Reader
"[Perelman] over-explains everything at the end with a montage of repeated scenes that ensures you never need see this film more than once."
‑ Anton Bitel, Little White Lies
"A thoughtful, if sentimental, semi-successful attempt to craft a drama about life and choice around the difficult subject matter of a school shooting."
‑ Daniel Etherington, Film4
"A sudsy potboiler with a twist you can see coming from the title."
‑ Neil Smith, thelondonpaper
"What you get, in the end, is a pair of fine performances (from Thurman and Wood) and a technically well-made film that arrives at a foregone conclusion."
‑ Jeff Shannon, Seattle Times
"The Life Before Her Eyes might offer a fresh perspective on aborted dreams, but its insights are buried under stale, inflated moviemaking."
‑ Janice Page, Boston Globe
"In the hands of the director Vadim Perelman, it becomes a jumble of dramatic scenes and disorientating flashbacks that merge into a confusing, stream-of-consciousness narrative, and the twist, when it comes, is a complete cheat."
‑ Peter Whittle, Sunday Times (UK)
"The movie's relentless dream-like quality could induce slack-jawed wonder...or chronic narcolepsy depending how receptive the viewer is to non-linear narrative and super-stylised flights of fancy."
‑ Tim Evans, Sky Movies
"Part Elephant, part Jacob's Ladder, moments of bruising power are dulled by overwrought symbolism and a baffling wrap-up."
‑ Rob James, Total Film
More reviews for The Life Before Her Eyes on Rotten Tomatoes

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