Review: Life Itself

Olivia Wilde in Life Itself

Life Itself is a multi-generational family drama full of love and heartbreak. It’s from writer and director Dan Fogelman, the creator of This Is Us.

Life Itself has been available on Prime Video for several months, but I resisted watching it. Now that I finally did, I wonder what my reluctance was about. I wish I’d watched it sooner.

Dan Fogelman is a genius with a story. He twists the timelines and tells events out of order. We don’t always know how things are related or why we’re seeing them when we’re seeing them.

Oscar Isaac and Olivia Wilde in Life Itself

The story begins with Will (Oscar Isaac) and Abby (Olivia Wilde). They meet in college, fall in love, get married, and are expecting a baby. We skip back and forth through the events in their relationship, sometimes with the help of a therapist played by Annette Bening.

We meet Irwin (Mandy Patinkin) and Linda (Jean Smart) and their granddaughter Dylan (Olivia Cooke as an adult).

Sergio Peris-Mencheta and Laia Costa in Life Itself

We meet Javier (Sergio Peris-Mencheta) and Isabel (Laia Costa) who fall in love, get married, and have a baby boy they name Rodrigo. They live in Spain.

Javier works in the olive groves belonging to Señor Saccione (Antonio Banderas). Señor Saccione takes an interest in both Isabel and the boy Rodrigo. A lot of interest.

Antonio Banderas and Àlex Monner in Life Itself

Rodrigo is played by numerous actors as he grows, but the adult actor is Àlex Monner.

All these people are connected through an unreliable narrator who only reveals connections slowly and always with a tiny bang of a surprise. There are heartbreaks and setbacks, but Life Itself winds toward a happy ending. At least for now – you never know what life will hand you is a strong theme. Life-affirming and heartwarming are good descriptions of the film.

A poster for Life Itself

The trailer was posted earlier. Have you seen this one? What did you think of it?

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