In this drama multiple lives intertwine and spin around each other. We see the story of two college sweethearts, the story of a couple struggling to support their child in Spain, the story of their children and how all their lives are connected by a single event. The multi generation levelled saga is beautifully told and supported by the music of Federico Jusid, and Bob Dylan’s Make You Feel my Love. This is Dan Fogelman’s second directorial and first big thing to come out after This Is Us. With a cast consisting of some of Hollywood’s finest e.g. Antonio Banderas and Olivia Wilde, this film has all the ingredients to be a crowd pleaser. The film finds a fine balance between happiness and sadness, and keeps surprising by taking away the characters you hold dear with a twist on their life story. The timeline is a little confusing at first but becomes clear when the film unfolds.
Halfway through the films 4 chapters and epilogue, it becomes clear that the narrative voice is the daughter to the children of the two couples we see struggling. This however does not interfere with the interest to learn more about the characters. Especially as the story of Will (Oscar Isaac) and Abby (Olivia Wilde) had more than half of the cinema in tears. The raw humour and joking ebbs away as Will Shoots himself and the story start to focus more on the Gonzalez family. As the story’s background changes to the idyllic olive farms in the countryside of Spain, it will once again start with a love story everyone romanticises, but this soon will start to crumble after a family holiday to New York. Javier and Isabel try to find a cure for their traumatised son, Rodrigo, and soon need to ask the help of rich landowner Vincent Saccione. Javier is a proud man and decides to leave his family so that Saccione can take care of his wife and son. They all meet one last time at the end of the film as Isabel falls ill.
The film had various bad reviews from acclaimed film critics but the public seem to have a different opinion on Twitter and outside the cinema. This film gives hope and happiness and then takes it away to build it up again but never disappoints.
The Cambridge Film Festival runs from the 25th of October to the 1st of November in various places in Cambridge. For more information on the festival go to https://www.cambridgefilmfestival.org.uk
Photo taken from https://www.cambridgefilmfestival.org.uk
Cambridge 38th Film Festival – Life Itself
Director – Dan Fogelman
With – Olivia Wilde, Antonio Banderas, Oscar Isaac, Olivia Cook
Written by Merel Van Schooten