A Thought Provoking Art Film from Canada
Jeffery K. Matheus | Indianapolis, IN United States | 11/01/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
""My Life Before This" is one of those movies (usually relegated to the "arthouse" movement these days!) that really leaves you thinking about what you have just watched, and you will be thinking about this film long after the movie has ended! The film deals with the impact of our choices and decisions in our lives. Even the most mundane and seemingly "unimportant" choices can have life-altering, and even catastrophic results, as the characters in this artfully crafted drama soon find out! The film begins in a coffeshop, where we are introduced to most of the films main characters. The lives of everyone in the coffeshop is forever changed when a crime being committed in a nearby building spils over into their midst. Next, the film switches gears and takes us back in time, showing us an "alternate" view of what COULD have happened that day in the coffeshop, if only different, seemingly "unimportant" choices had been made by some of those involved. The film then ends back in the coffeshop, showing us the results of this "alternate" set of choices. The film's message will really stay with you. It will really make you consider the decisions that you make in day to day life, and how those decisions may effect others. The film shows a hint of influence from the great Canadian director Atom Egoyan, and so I was not suprised to see some familiar faces from Egoyan films, namely Sarah Polley and Alberta Watson, who previously appeared together in Egoyan's masterful "The Sweet Hereafter". Another familiar face to art-film buffs will be Stephen Rea, who previously appeared with Polley in the underrated "Guinevere". (And was also excellent as a faded rock star in "Still Crazy".) The whole cast is quite good in their roles, and comic actress Catherine O' Hara (of "Second City TV" and "Home Alone" fame) takes on a slightly more serious role as a bridal shop worker who is herself, unlucky in love. (She does manage to get in a few of the films only comical lines). One thing I must say is that if you don't plan to pay attention to this film, then don't even bother! With its interweving characters and plotlines, this film will need your full attention to be truly appreciated. That being said, I would highly recommend this film to anyone who enjoys thought-provoking arthouse cinema...But be prepared to think after you watch!"
..and here we are again.
Jeffery K. Matheus | 04/17/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
""The Life Before This," never before has tradegy been displayed so beautifully. Out of jest one night, I was pacing up and down the aisles at the local video store. Nothing was looking good at all, and after just skimming titles, I decided to get 'int depth' about certain movies that looked appealing, yet none that were quite mainstream. So after doing so, I just saw the cover of this box. It seemed to display a story already just from the simple imagery on the cover. Right away I was enticed to see what this tale was about... to sum it up, you know when you have a decidsion or you nee to decide what to do for a certain evening, and I'm sure we've all had these moments where we can't decide between the two or so more options give. Well imagine going with one...just see what happens that night. Good or bad, it's a given. Now imagine if you were to do the latent of the two, the other thought that you had in mind..if only you've stuck with that one, where would it take you?'The Life Before This,' deals with that. It takes this small circle of charcaters whose life all communicate with eachother in someway, and it takes the last night of their tragic death and transforms it into a fairytale, if they were only to do one simpe thing different the day of their passing. This movie yes, isn't the most uplifting, but it has a beauty to it that could never be describe with the most of elegant words. It starts off displaying the ending, but take syou througha dream of sadness, happiness, life and regret through each different standpoint allowed... what if this were your last day to breathe? Would it end in a peaceful fashion, or one which you'd always wish you'd have said more... 'The Life Before This' is recommended for any seeking anything from a deeper philosophical meaning, to just someone whom just appreciates a good movie. It is most definitely, not the type to let down."
It's been said before by better directors and writers
J. Hilles | the northeastern United States | 02/01/2004
(1 out of 5 stars)
"The 'what if'/'if only I had known' genre is not served by this badly-written, badly-directed 92 minutes of my life that I will never get back.Catherine O'Hara and Joey Pants are splendid as always, but there are too many characters given equal importance, leading to a choppy and unresolved story.For the best of the genre, check out 'Memento' and 'American Beauty' instead."