Jan 19, 2010

Life Before Her Eyes Review

Having watched The Life Before Her Eyes (2007) last night, I felt compelled to write a review. The movie stars Uma Thurman as Diana and Evan Rachel Wood as Young Diana based on the book by Laura Kasischke. The title gives away the movie as it is about Diana's life flashing before her eyes. The movie flashes back and forth between a young Diana, 17 and an older Diana, 32 or so. Diana and her best friend Maureen are in the girls' bathroom at their high school when they hear screams and shooting from without. A fellow student, Michael, bursts in armed with a semi-automatic or some such large weapon. He aims at the girls, asking them which one he should kill. We don't find out until the end of the movie which girl is shot.

Young Diana is a slut. At least she thinks of herself as one. She has lost her virginity and is involved with a professor. She has also gotten pregnant and had an abortion. Her best friend, Maureen, played by Susan Sarandon's daughter, Eva Amurri, is the good girl type who goes to church, is against abortion (revealed by a sticker on her car that reads CHOOSE LIFE), and premarital sex.

Given this good versus evil dichotomy, I should have realized soon into the movie which girl was going to die. And the movie doesn't disappoint. Diana tells Michael, the shooter, to kill her, thus sacrificing herself for her wholesome Christian friend.

The movie was good, if not a bit confusing. Diana, the older version, never existed as she was killed in the school shooting at 17. But we see her life "flash" before her eyes; as her life would have been had she survived the school shooting.

I did not appreciate the ending nor the moral of the film. Diana sacrificed herself for her friend may seem noble at first but glorifying sacrifice and martyrs is ridiculous for me. What's so great about sacrifice. Why are we moved it? It may go all the way back to Jesus but even so, I don't see sacrifice as a virtue.

That Diana was the bad seed in this movie is quite evident. That she deserved to live less than her religious friend is simply wrong. It seems as though by sacrificing herself for her friend was her only road to redemption. That's why this movie, though overall good, is a piece of crap.

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