The Life Before Her Eyes

Emil Stern’s adaptation of Laura Kasischke’s novel focuses on the psychology of a tragedy’s ramifications, instead of the tragedy itself. However, director Vadim Perelman’s disconnected storytelling techniques—including frequent flashbacks and flash-forwards—make it hard for viewers to make emotional connections with the film’s characters. A suburban mom’s seemingly utopian present unravels as she suffers from survivor’s guilt on the 15th anniversary of a Columbine-like shooting. Uma Thurman plays the traumatized woman as if she’s borderline catatonic, while Evan Rachel Wood plays the younger, free-spirited protagonist; it seems like they are two separate people. But maybe that is what living through a tragedy does to someone.

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