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Writer-director Todd Solondz's worldview is on full display inLife During Wartime, and both the outlook and the landscape are bleak. This is a film whose sundry behaviors include pedophilia, homophobia, suicide, kids popping antidepressants, and rampant lying, not to mention buckets of tears; and while there is much talk of forgiveness, there's very little of it actually to be found. Most of the action involves three sisters who first appeared (played by different actresses) in Solondz'sHappiness(1998) and continue to take the fun out of dysfunctional in this one. Trish (Allison Janney) has told her three kids that their dad (Ciaran Hinds) is dead, when in fact he's been in prison for molesting young boys. The ironically named Joy (Shirley Henderson) is a walking rain cloud who darkens every path she crosses, especially those trod by the men in her life; and Helen (Ally Sheedy) is a Hollywood writer whose heights of success are matched by the depth of her neuroses. While there isn't much in the way of plot, per se, the film depicts various developments in the characters' lives: Trish's relationship with a new guy, youngest son Timmy's preparation for his bar mitzvah, Dad's release from prison and tentative steps to reenter the real world. Those familiar with Solondz's earlier movies won't be surprised to discover that none of these scenarios plays out very happily, and there's no doubt that the director's work is not for everyone--in fact, several folks walked out in the middle of the screening this reviewer attended. But the strong cast (others include Michael Lerner, Renée Taylor, Charlotte Rampling, and Paul Reubens) helps makeLife During Wartime(the title comes not from the popular Talking Heads song of the same name, but from a new tune cowritten by Solondz and sung by Devendra Banhart) worth seeing, if not exactly entertaining.--Sam Graham
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CastShirley Henderson, Michael K. Williams
DirectorTodd Solondz
Runtime:  98 minutes
Studio:  IFC Films
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More Life During Wartime (2010) reviews
review by . August 12, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
**1/2 out of ****      Todd Solondz is a brilliant mind. And he will always be a brilliant mind. He caught my eye when I first saw his controversial second-feature "Happiness", and now to my surprise, he's made a sequel. This is odd, because the ending of the first film was one that never truly asked for a sequel; nor did it shout such a word in our faces. I didn't want a sequel; but I also didn't mind that there was one. I watched "Life During Wartime" with some decent expectations; …
review by . July 09, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
Life During Wartime"    A Dark Look at Life    Amos Lassen    Trish is about to remarry after having been seperated from her husband who is in prison for pedophilia and she is very excited that he new husband, Harvey, will be a good role model for her two sons. However. Bill is released from prison and the boys are forced to decide if they should forgive and forget. With that is Trish's sister, Joy, who is being haunted by the memories …
Life During Wartime (2010)
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