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The Life Before Her Eyes [Blu-ray]
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Evan Rachel Wood portrays Diana, a wild girl who relishes using bad language and meting out her own brand of justice, while her best friend Maureen, played by Eva Amurri, serves as the moral compass. While blithely enjoying their day, the two hole up in the school bathroom, chatting and fixing their makeup -- and then shots ring out.
From this point forward, the movie plays out in a series of flash-forward, flashback vignettes -- we see the two girls swimming, diving, hanging out; and then we see the adult version of Diana, taking her daughter Emma to school, glancing nervously at a sign over the local high school announcing a 15-year memorial of the tragedy -- a haunting day when a boy fired into a school, destroying lives.
Several versions of the teenage girls' final moments are played out, with the killer asking them to choose which one will die.
What seems like a normal life for the adult version of Diana soon has us asking several questions: Which girl actually died on that fateful day? What constitutes reality and what is actually fantasy? Is everything only a flashing of "life before her eyes" and is nothing real at all?
The viewer must decide the answers to these questions. But no matter what conclusions you reach, this movie will haunt you for some time to come.
I can offer a few comparisons for prospective viewers; overall it is probably closest to "Carnival of Souls" (1962) so if you are a fan of that film I can almost guarantee that you will connect with this one. In style, Director Vadim Perelman reminds me a great deal of Atom Egoyan; so if you hated "Exotica", "Where the Truth Lies", or "The Sweet Hereafter" you would be wise to give "The Life Before Her Eyes" a wide berth. The story itself is a blend of "Home Room" and Donnie Darko (2001); with the match cut editing of "The Hours" (2002) linking three separate timelines together. Philosophically it blends the existential themes of "Carnival of Souls" and "The Wages of Fear" (1953), but I've not yet seen anyone else make this comparison.
STOP!!! If you haven't seen it yet stop here, watch the film, come back and read the rest, and then watch it again. Don't read any further unless you are prepared for spoilers.Read more ›
The Life Before Her Eyes tells the story of young Diana, a reckless, wild teenager who seems to not have a care in the world and her best friend Maureen, a timid, religious girl who instantly bonds with the wild child one day at school and they became strong friends. Then one day, while in the bathroom at school, a student comes with a loaded gun and begans to shoot down students before making his way into the bathroom and holds the gun to them saying "which one of you is going to die?". Fast forward and Diana is now a mother and wife, who finds her life beginning to steadily break down on the fiftenth aniversary of the shooting, where her actions in the past come back to haunt her.
The film, like Atonement, makes use of the surreal imagery, the director bathing everything in soft sunlight, giving it an almost dream like quality to it all, letting ordinary things like water, food, buildings, flags, everything just come alive, making every detail almost as important as the characters. Uma Thurman and Evan Rachel Wood are both superb in the roles of Diana and Eva Amurri is another standout as the best friend.
The pacing of the film goes by at a brisk but not rush paced, giving just enough time for every character to grow and develop, which all leads up to such an ending that it demands an instant reveiwing of the film, where you begin to notice even more things you might have missed in the first and finding out the little hints that may indicate to what may happen.
By far one of the most overlooked films of 2007, this is a true art of a film that will leave you breathless by the very end.
While other reviewers mention details of the film, I think that more enjoyment can be derived from knowing little or nothing about the story before watching the movie. ONLY after viewing it, I highly recommend the BEHIND THE SCENES feature, which is nearly 55 minutes long and goes into enjoyable details of the production, characters, story, and cast. That feature clearly WARNS viewers that it is a SPOILER feature and should be watched after seeing the movie. My hat is off to whoever put that warning there. I think it's especially warranted for this film.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I read the book first and like the movie better because the story is better done visually.Published 1 month ago by B. F. Wong
I just loved this movie and it is so deep and thought provoking. Great performances.Published 4 months ago by pk3
I didn't like this movie. could have been 20 minutes to get the point across.Published 6 months ago by JSM
Good movie about a school shooting..very confusing at the ending though.Published 9 months ago by Amazon Customer
Tedious plot and never seems to get to whatever point it was trying to make.Published 9 months ago by Wayne R. Melchior
Even being aware of the topic of this movie, it was incredibly boring, too slow to even try to get through the whole movie.Published 9 months ago by Amazon Customer
Surreal movie. Lots of flashbacks and flash forwards. A very type of movie with a weird ending.Published 9 months ago by Midnite Baker