The Life Before Her Eyes Vadim Perelman

The Life Before Her Eyes Vadim Perelman
Part anti-abortion parable and part overwrought composition piece, milking every lingering shot for any potential subtextual imagery, The Life Before Her Eyes is often heavy-handed and struggles at times conversationally but succeeds in the tonality and resonance it strives for. Hokey or not, the film is nothing if not beautiful to look at and will divide audience appreciation based on singular tendencies towards emotionally-driven or intellectually-driven entertainment. Eyes can be criticized academically, feeling compelled to point out its own minimal degree of cleverness with condescension but it capitalizes on histrionics despite familiar material. This symbolic fable follows young Diana McPhee (Evan Rachel Wood), a rebellious and somewhat promiscuous teen and her goody-two-shoes best friend Maureen (Eva Amurri) and the events that lead up to a high school shooting where the girls are asked to make a Sophie’s Choice kind of decision between each other’s life. Meanwhile, a parallel storyline involving damaged adult Diana (Uma Thurman), who is married to a university professor (Brett Cullen) and has a young daughter of her own (Gabrielle Brennan), paints a portrait of a woman desperately running from her childhood errors and trying her damnedest to keep her daughter from repeating her past mistakes. Much more thought went into the dual storylines than initially meets the eye, as they act in a sort of female-centric Usual Suspects manner, which may have been more affecting if the epilogue didn’t take a curtsy and bow to point out its own importance. The performances are well above average, with Evan Rachel Wood again showing a lack of anxiety about playing a character who isn’t particularly likable, which helps the overall impact of the film. DVD extras include only a "Making Of” featurette that goes on much longer than most with actor, director and producer interviews that assess everything from script to casting to production to allegorical intent. (TVA)