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Life During Wartime (2010)

A movie directed by Todd Solondz

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A Dark Look at Life

  • Jul 9, 2010
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 of past lovers and she has left her husband as well as a job with the New Jersey Correctional System. Wherever Joy goes is a trail of secrets come to light and shame. This is the story of a totally dysfunctional family and it is told in three seperate stories. We have the father trying to find his son, the wife/mother looking for a new lover and the sister who mixes romance with work and she is being followed by death wherever she goes and she is going mad.That is a lot of stuff to deal with in one movie and therefore the film is never quite solid. However, the acting is amazing and Todd Solondz is a master director. The film will amuse you and disgust you at the same time.There are times when the film drags and the pacing is slow and many of the scenes are just conversation between two characters. Yet this is a very smart film becuae it deals with forgiveness and looks at life head-on. All the characters are victims and at war with themselves or have demons from their pasts. Each character has his own view on forgiveness and we, the audience, are left to figure out whether it is better to forgive and forget, forgive and never forget, forget but never forgive or do nothing.
The film is confusing but it engenders discussion and to me that makes a film worth seeing. It brought to mind how we should react to what is happening in the Middle East today and the horrible events of 9/11.
There are many allusions in the film and they are all part of the soap opera of this family. This is a movie to be seen and thought about and there is plenty here to make you do just that.


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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; …
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Amos Lassen ()
Ranked #210
I am an academic who reivews movies and books of interest to the GLBT and Jewish communities.   I came to Arkansas after having been relocated here due to Hurricane Katrina. I was living in … more
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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 ...
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Director: Todd Solondz
Runtime: 98 minutes
Studio: IFC Films

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"A Dark Look at Life"
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