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Saturday, April 23, 2016

The Life Before Her Eyes (2008)

An art professor (Uma Thurman) at a university has never gotten over the traumatic experience of surviving a mass Columbine like shooting when she was in high school. It seriously affects both her relationship with her husband (Brett Cullen) and young daughter (Gabrielle Brennan). The narrative jumps back and forth between her present life and her teen life (where she's played by Evan Rachel Wood) when she was a wild child just before the shootings. Vadim Perelman's powerful HOUSE OF SAND AND FOG was one of my favorite films of 2004 so I was excited about his follow up film LIFE BEFORE HER EYES. I was disappointed as it seemed Perelman had too much on his cinematic plate. Not only was there the jumping back and forth in time but other issues like an abortion, infidelity and a willful daughter that reflects her own past. Upon this second viewing some 8 years later, things are clarified and seemed clearer and I appreciate it much more though it's still a flawed movie but at least I "get it" now. Sadly, the talented Perelman has yet to direct another feature film. With Oscar Isaac, Jack Gilpin and Eva Amurri as Wood's wholesome Christian best friend.

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