Life During Wartime

"Excellent"

Life During Wartime Review


Solondz takes a sideways approach to this sequel to his 1998 hit Happiness.

With an all-new cast, it feels almost like a jazz riff, playing with the characters and themes and sending them in new directions. And it's both hilarious and clever.

When she realises that her husband (Williams) hasn't overcome his urge to make obscene phone calls, Joy (Henderson) heads to Florida to see her sister Trish (Janney), who has told everyone that her husband Bill (Hinds) has died. But he's actually in prison for abusing a young boy. Trish is now seeing a nice Jewish man (Lerner) and being a bit too honest with her son Timmy (Snyder).

She's also pretty useless to Joy, who heads to California to see their other sister Helen (Sheedy), who's now a Hollywood screenwriter.

Solondz shoots this as if it was a wholesome family TV movie, even though the topic of conversation is never remotely innocent. These people talk about all the things you're not supposed to talk about, and the cast plays it dead straight, which makes it all the funnier to watch. Almost everything each person says touches a nerve, both with the other characters and with us in the audience. Much of this has to do with taboos, but between the sisters there's a constant stream of passive insults (edgier variations on "You're not that fat").

This kind of razor sharp dialog gives the actors plenty to play with, and they're utterly fantastic. Janney and Sheedy get the best lines, while Hinds lurks around the edges of the film, getting his own subplot (including an amazing sequence with the fabulous Rampling) and ultimately reuniting with his eldest son (Marquette). At the centre, Henderson is a superb wallflower, trying to imagine a world in which no one pretends.

As the story progresses, there are moments of aching sadness along with the raucous comedy. And the dialog cleverly touches on some huge issues along the way, most notably an outrageous conversation on forgiveness and terrorism that turns into a funny and profound comment on 9/11. In the end, the plot feels a bit meandering, but with a script and cast this strong, that's minor criticism.



Life During Wartime

Facts and Figures

Genre: Dramas

Run time: 98 mins

In Theaters: Friday 16th April 2010

Box Office USA: $0.3M

Box Office Worldwide: $744.8 thousand

Budget: $4.5M

Distributed by: IFC Films

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 4 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 69%
Fresh: 67 Rotten: 30

IMDB: 6.4 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Producer: , Christine K. Walke

Starring: as Helen, as Andy, as Joy, as Trish, as Allen

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Murder on the Orient Express Movie Review

Murder on the Orient Express Movie Review

The latest adaptation of Agatha Christie's 83-year-old classic whodunit, this lavish, star-studded film is old-style...

Paddington 2 Movie Review

Paddington 2 Movie Review

The first Paddington movie in 2014 is already such a beloved classic that it's hard...

A Bad Moms Christmas Movie Review

A Bad Moms Christmas Movie Review

Everyone's back from last year's undemanding adult comedy, plus some starry new cast members, for...

Brawl in Cell Block 99 Movie Review

Brawl in Cell Block 99 Movie Review

Filmmaker S. Craig Zahler brought a blast of offbeat creativity to the Western genre two...

The Death of Stalin Movie Review

The Death of Stalin Movie Review

Fans of the film In the Loop and the TV series Veep will definitely not...

Call Me By Your Name Movie Review

Call Me By Your Name Movie Review

Set in northern Italy in the summer of 1983, this internationally flavoured drama is a...

Thor: Ragnarok Movie Review

Thor: Ragnarok Movie Review

The most riotously enjoyable Marvel movie yet, this action epic benefits hugely from the decision...

Advertisement
Breathe Movie Review

Breathe Movie Review

While this biopic has the standard sumptuous production values of a British period drama, it's...

The Snowman Movie Review

The Snowman Movie Review

With a cast and crew packed with A-list talent, this film seems like it should...

The Party Movie Review

The Party Movie Review

Comedies don't get much darker than this pitch-black British movie, written and directed by Sally...

The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected) Movie Review

The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected) Movie Review

Noah Baumbach (Frances Ha) is on his way to becoming the new Woody Allen, which...

6 Below Movie Review

6 Below Movie Review

Based on an astonishing true survival story, this film is subtitled "Miracle on the Mountain",...

Mother Movie Review

Mother Movie Review

Darren Aronofsky doesn't make fluffy movies, and has only had one genuine misfire (2014's Noah)....

Blade Runner 2049 Movie Review

Blade Runner 2049 Movie Review

It's been 35 years since Ridley Scott's 1982 sci-fi classic, which was set in 2019....

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.