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Film Critics: Today, December 18, winners from Rolling Stone magazine, PhoenixCC, UtahFCA, Kansas CityFCC and St. LouisFCA. Nominations from VancouverFCC.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

The Life Before Her Eyes (aka In Bloom)


I decided to check this movie because two reasons Uma Thurman and Evan Rachel Wood and as you can imagine I knew nothing about the plot or anything else. Wow! The movie was a HUGE surprise as is one of the few American movies than can truly be called art cinema, as is a visually breathtaking voyage into a succession of amazing images and great performances mainly with expression by the two actresses that play the same role at different ages.

Honestly I couldn’t believe that I was watching an American movie as it does not look or feel anything (Hollywood or Independent) American. This could be a good European art cinema that makes you feel everything the characters are feeling and the amazing moody cinematography is more than breathtaking, is stunning!

I also cannot believe that this movie is by the same director of House of Fog and Sand, Ukranian born Vadim Perelman, as well they are very different, but then this one is so good that I will watch again the House of Fog and Sand to see if I find clues that confirm is the same director. That’s how much this director impressed me.

Performances by the two main actresses are compelling and both characters are well developed to get key insights about what is happening in their minds. Can’t help but to add that both look gorgeous in the screen.

If you check the net you will find that most critics trash the movie, but you will also notice that most talk about the story and the way the story is told. Then you will find those critics that talk about the movie and some even include it as one of their top ten. I’m one viewer that agrees with the later.

So by know you may be wondering why I haven’t say something about the story if I always mention it at the beginning. There is one reason: the story is too American as deals with a situation similar to the Columbine incident where a kid shoots his schoolmates. This is not new in cinema and I can rapidly think about Gus Van Sant’s Elephant. But what is truly outstanding here is that the story is told totally out of sequence and totally out of reality!

If the story will be told sequentially it will be about two school best friends Diana (Evan Rachel Wood) and Maureen (Eva Amuri) that are opposites but have a close friendship; then moves in time to an older Diana (Uma Thurman) that has troubled memories during the week of the celebration of the 15 years of the school killing. Of course is totally out of sequence so one incident that happens to older Diana gives permission to tell something that happens to younger Diana and vice versa. This storytelling totally blew my mind as one of the most fantastic ways to tell a troubled, touchy and painful story.

Then actually the story is about how a single moment in time can define and change an entire life. The screenplay is an adaptation of a novel by Laura Kasischke of the same name and if you haven’t read the book you will be able to enjoy a lot more the way the director did the storytelling and the somehow unexpected end, even when you have some clues that help to predict the end.

The movie was screened at the 2007 Toronto International Film Festival and well is absolutely not for all audiences; you have to like breathtaking art cinema that tells stories out of sequence.

I liked the movie a lot, but I know that perhaps most of you will not as definitively is not your usual American movie. Still, I suggest to some of my known readers to give it a try as not often we have an opportunity to see a two girl friendship portrayed like this movie does.

Big Enjoy!!!

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