“I’m just waiting for the right moment.”
Swinging wildly from sickly sweet to outright miserable, Life Itself is a tonal mishmash of interconnected stories. It peaks within the first five minutes, Samuel L. Jackson lending his voice as an unreliable narrator to the life of Oscar Isaac’s Will with pizzazz and humour. It’s short-lived though; he’s soon to be replaced by a new, disembodied (but fairly obvious) narrator, as we’re introduced to a string of chaptered tales, each charting one family’s history with diminishing emotional returns, building to an ending which fails to stick its landing.
So concerned with meta trickery is the film that it neglects to develop characters of interest beyond its first act. Each turn taken stretches logic to manipulate the story towards a reveal which should have been revelatory and uplifting, yet ends up feeling overly sentimental. There’s plenty of talent in the cast, but a hokey script from writer/director Dan Fogelman just doesn’t provide them with the tools to meet their potential.
Rating (out of 5):