Life During Wartime (The Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray]
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"Ask Todd," an audio Q&A with director Todd Solondz
Making "Life During Wartime," a new documentary featuring interviews with actors
New video piece in which Lachman discusses his work on the film
Original theatrical trailer
PLUS: A booklet featuring an essay by film critic David Sterritt
Top Customer Reviews
As I recall, there were about seven or eight other people in the theater, most of whom were sitting by themselves and probably not mentally prepared for the hour and a half long ride of horrifying abnormality and sheer discomfort that is typical of director Todd Solondz's films, which according to Wikipedia are inspired by his experiences growing up in New Jersey - and I BELIEVE IT, wholeheartedly. So, why did I give five stars to this film? Mainly because of the circumstances under which I watched it. As I mentioned, Solondz's films are abnormal and discomforting, which made watching this film amongst complete strangers in a dark theater and from the back row quite amusing. Like in true horror movie fashion it was not uncommon to see people sinking down into their chairs, letting out sharp gasps and sighs, covering their faces, and turning their heads disapprovingly from side to side. As for myself, I too was taken by surprise, especially when the young boy (Timmy) cries out "I hope I NEVER get molested!" At that point I pretty much lost control and had to gag myself with my coat because I didn't want to appear rude and insensitive towards the subject matter or attract the glaring faces of the combined seven or eight people in the audience. I think this movie really got the better of some people.
Without question, this is the work of Todd Solondz.
When I heard that Solondz intended to revisit this masterpiece, casting new actors, it seemed like an inspired addition to his increasingly non-conformist resume. Shirley Henderson, Allison Janney and Ally Sheedy now inhabit the roles originated by Jane Adams, Cynthia Stevenson, and Lara Flynn Boyle respectively. All three do an excellent job of recapturing the essence of their character's neuroses--Sheedy, unfortunately, has more of a cameo but her scenes are dead-on hilarious. The film begins with an absolutely perfect scene between Henderson and her husband that mirrors the first scene from "Happiness" in a sublimely funny way. When we move on to Janney, a control freak desperately looking for love, I knew that Solondz had done it again. The primary plot points involve Henderson dealing with a past lover's suicide (Jon Lovitz's ghost interpreted by Paul Reubens--inspired!Read more ›
As much as I wanted to love this film, throughout it I couldn't shake the feeling of it being a somewhat unnecessary sequel. The plot of "Happiness" loosely revolved around the stories of three sisters, and despite the years that have gone by, the characters haven't really changed much. Joy is still wimpy, optimistic, and drawn to self-destructive, damaged men. Helen is still arrogant and entitled. The only character who seems at least somewhat different is Trish. In the first film, before discovering her husband's pedophilia, she was a smug control freak. Years later, the character reeks of desperation while trying to recreate the "normal" life for herself that she thought she once had.
The themes of "Life During Wartime" are also mostly the same as those of "Happiness": trauma, shame, guilt, disappointment, and the part family plays in all of these things. The new film differs only slightly from its predecessor by also exploring the theme (or maybe just the possibility) of redemption. This exploration is apparent in the storyline of Bill Maplewood, Trish's ex-husband, just released from prison.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Lost in Space meets Pee-wee's playhouse of horrors to bring us a new Heart of Darkness.Published 2 months ago by Anne Brody
The film is all about people being weird. There seems to be no other point.Published 8 months ago by FRAYDA LEVIN
this film is good. a break up scene at the beginning makes everyone laugh uproariously. is the man dead or alive. is the father real or imagined. Read morePublished 17 months ago by gcd
The acting was really good as always and it makes you feel uncomfortable, as always. But there was nothing new or horribly risky. Read morePublished 24 months ago by C. Villarreal
Solonze is a master at what he does, he is the most original voice in indie cinema today!!! !!!!! !!!!!Published on January 21, 2014 by Sjur03
I like movies that standout and this one is different for sure. It picks up where happiness left off. Read morePublished on April 22, 2013 by Miggaddymugsy
Amazon's description says this is a "hilarious new film." I got a few uncomfortable chuckles out of it, but "hilarious" is not the right word. Read morePublished on April 13, 2013 by Number1Framer
I was so much looking forward to this movie, but it didn't live up to the trailer, which showed the best parts of the dialogue. Read morePublished on November 5, 2012 by Michael
Pretentious, art-house nonsense like this has to be made I guess, for some reason; but does it have to be THIS boring?? Read more