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The Life Before Her Eyes (2008)

Cast: Uma Thurman, Uma Thurman, Evan Rachel Wood, more...
Director: Vadim Perelman, Vadim Perelman
    see all cast/crew...
Studio: Magnolia
Genre: Drama, Coming of Age , Dysfunctional Families, Weepies
Running Time: 90 min.
Languages: English
Subtitles: Spanish
    see additional details...

Based on author Laura Kasischke's novel The Life Before Her Eyes, House of Sand and Fog director Vadim Perelman's provocative study of memory, morality, and conscience stars Uma Thurman as the guilt-ridden survivor of a harrowing, Columbine-like high-school shooting. To any outsider, Diana (played as a young girl by actress Evan Rachel Wood) and Maureen (Eva Amurri) were polar opposites; Diana was always questioning authority, while Maureen quietly went about fulfilling the expectations of her devoutly religious family. Yet it was precisely theses differences that drew the two girls to one another and found them gradually growing to become best friends. As with any anxious high-school student, Diana and Maureen both existed in that strange grey zone between childhood and adulthood that found them constantly pondering the endless possibilities that awaited them in the outside world. Flash forward years later, and Diana's (played as an adult by Thurman) life isn't anything like she imagined it would be as a young girl. As Diana's traumatic past gradually comes into focus, it soon becomes obvious that she was profoundly affected by a pivotal event that occurred just prior to her high-school graduation. ~ Jason Buchanan, All Movie Guide

GreenCine Member Reviews

Luminous Portraits in The Light Before Her Eyes by TPhillips July 19, 2008 - 10:59 PM PDT
4 out of 4 members found this review helpful
The first time I saw Evan Rachel Wood on the screen, she was a child actress on the TV show, Once and Again; a very believable pre-teen. To me, she was most gifted of all young actors in the program, and I thought she'd have a future on a bigger screen; it was no surprise to see her in the powerful film, Thirteen, and then recently in the mind-blowing Across the Universe, in which she plays a young woman undergoing transformations circa late '60s to early 70s, and she sings..and beautifully, too. In this movie, The Light Before Her Eyes, she is joined by Eva Amurri, who convincingly plays the part of her closest high school friend. Uma Thurman is extraordinary, too, sometimes almost too painful to watch as the grown-up Diana, contrasting Wood's devil-may-care persona as the younger Diana in flashbacks. Although Thurman's grappling with the pivotal event of high school is interesting, personally, I was drawn to the beautiful portrayal of the friendship between Diana and her best friend...My rating is lower than a '10' because I found the plot to weaken towards the end. However, I give it high marks for acting to all 3 lead actresses, and for direction, cinematography that comes close to visceral photographs-- a lush garden in the rain , or a night scene where the girls walk past sprinklers on suburban homes, almost ethereal-and for provocative subject matter. As an educator and someone haunted by stories of school violence, I'm fascinated by flashback scenes of Diana's high school. As a woman, I appreciate the reminder of how key our female friendships can be at that age. To me, that is the best part of the movie, a luminous portrayal of women at a crossroads of their lives. All 3 actresses deserve kudos for their unflinchingly honest, often brave performances. Not easy to watch, but worth it...

GreenCine Member Rating

(Average 5.75)
12 Votes
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