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The Life Before Her Eyes
The Life Before Her Eyes
Actors: Uma Thurman, Evan Rachel Wood, Eva Amurri
Director: Vadim Perelman
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama, Mystery & Suspense
R     2008     1hr 30min

Imaginative, impetuous and wild Diana (Evan Rachel Wood) can t wait for her adult life to begin. Diana test her limits as her more conservative friend Maureen (Eva Amurri) watches with concern. But Diana s aura of invincib...  more »

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Movie Details

Actors: Uma Thurman, Evan Rachel Wood, Eva Amurri
Director: Vadim Perelman
Creators: Pawel Edelman, James Horner, David Baxter
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama, Mystery & Suspense
Sub-Genres: Indie & Art House, Family Life, Mystery & Suspense
Studio: Magnolia Home Entertainment
Format: DVD - Color,Widescreen - Closed-captioned,Subtitled
DVD Release Date: 08/19/2008
Original Release Date: 01/01/2007
Theatrical Release Date: 01/01/2007
Release Year: 2008
Run Time: 1hr 30min
Screens: Color,Widescreen
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 1
Members Wishing: 0
MPAA Rating: R (Restricted)
Languages: English
Subtitles: Spanish
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Member Movie Reviews

Lion G. (lionine) from PETALUMA, CA
Reviewed on 12/27/2014...
A deeply moving film, well acted, and constantly surprising. 5 Stars if you like thrilling mind-bogglers. A fair amount of violence, all of which is appropriate for the theme.
Jennifer D. (jennicat) from ST AUGUSTINE, FL
Reviewed on 8/30/2014...
I didn't expect it!

Movie Reviews

Thrilling, Gripping Drama
D. Hupp | Woodbridge, VA United States | 08/25/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)

"One of the most thought-provoking dramatic thrillers I've seen in a long time. The acting by the entire cast was stellar, with Thurman, Wood and Amurri giving powerful performances. This is a movie that will keep you guessing and engaged until the final credits roll. You'll find "gems" in it upon repeated viewings too.

While other reviewers mention details of the film, I think that more enjoyment can be derived from knowing little or nothing about the story before watching the movie. ONLY after viewing it, I highly recommend the BEHIND THE SCENES feature, which is nearly 55 minutes long and goes into enjoyable details of the production, characters, story, and cast. That feature clearly WARNS viewers that it is a SPOILER feature and should be watched after seeing the movie. My hat is off to whoever put that warning there. I think it's especially warranted for this film."
A Surreal Portrait . . .
Laurel-Rain Snow "Rain" | Fresno, California | 09/22/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)

"The Life Before Her Eyes is a chilling portrait of a high school student gone mad, leaving devastation in his wake.

Evan Rachel Wood portrays Diana, a wild girl who relishes using bad language and meting out her own brand of justice, while her best friend Maureen, played by Eva Amurri, serves as the moral compass. While blithely enjoying their day, the two hole up in the school bathroom, chatting and fixing their makeup -- and then shots ring out.

From this point forward, the movie plays out in a series of flash-forward, flashback vignettes -- we see the two girls swimming, diving, hanging out; and then we see the adult version of Diana, taking her daughter Emma to school, glancing nervously at a sign over the local high school announcing a 15-year memorial of the tragedy -- a haunting day when a boy fired into a school, destroying lives.

Several versions of the teenage girls' final moments are played out, with the killer asking them to choose which one will die.

What seems like a normal life for the adult version of Diana soon has us asking several questions: Which girl actually died on that fateful day? What constitutes reality and what is actually fantasy? Is everything only a flashing of "life before her eyes" and is nothing real at all?

The viewer must decide the answers to these questions. But no matter what conclusions you reach, this movie will haunt you for some time to come.

Time Stops with Trauma: Flashbacks and Flash Forwards
Grady Harp | Los Angeles, CA United States | 08/24/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)

"Laura Kasischke's intelligent novel 'The Life Before Her Eyes' has been brilliantly adapted for the screen by Emil Stern, and with the skills of director Vadim Perelman, this underrated movie in the theaters may find a wider appreciative audience in this DVD format. It is a film that challenges the viewer to think, to piece together the evidence, and to come to personal conclusions about the meaning of the story.

Diana (Evan Rachel Wood in an outstanding performance) is a 'loose girl' in her highschool who happens to be best friends with her total opposite, the moralistic virgin Maureen (Eva Amurri). While sharing thoughts and gossip in the school's bathroom they hear gunshots and rapidly become victims of a wild student's killing spree, terrorizing the school. The killer enters the bathroom, asks the girls to decide which one of the two will volunteer to die, gunshots blaze and we see Diana lying on the floor of the bathroom while Maureen shrinks beneath the sinks: the last gunshots are apparently the killer committing suicide.

Flash forward 15 years and Diana (Uma Thurman) is the beautiful wife of a professor (Sherman Alpert), an art history teacher, and mother of young Emma (Gabrielle Brennan). There is something not quite real about the atmosphere: Diana lives in fear and grief (?Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome?) and despite her 'perfect' surroundings, she is ridden with anxiety. When asked by a friend if she is going to attend the 15 year Memorial for the school shooting event Diana says she hasn't decided. What follows is a series of flashbacks allowing us to fully understand the young Diana's motivations and impulsive behavior and her close relationship with Maureen before the tragedy changed their lives. But gaping holes in the history of the event and the subsequent years ultimately force the viewer to decide what actually happened in the past: are we witnessing reality or imagined dreams - and it is left to every viewer to decide the facts of the story for themselves.

Uma Thurman is brilliant in this challenging role and Evan Rachel Wood is equally stunning as the younger version of Thurman's role. The entire cast contributes an ensemble performance that keeps us involved in this thriller from opening frame to closing credits. Vadim Perelman's approach to the story offers subtle, visually magnificent images that provide clues throughout the film about the division between real and imagined. This is a fine film on every level. Highly recommended. Grady Harp, August 08"