Published On: Sun, Sep 30th, 2018

‘Life Itself’ offers a hollow, boring message on love and the journey of life

Dan Fogelman moved into the spotlight with his writer credit on Disney’s Tangled, arguably the studio’s best fairy tale since Beauty and the Beast, but rose to Hollywood elite with the success of This Is Us. Sadly, Fogelman’s Life Itself can’t capture that appeal and offers audiences little more than a drab, depressing and hollow journey through life.

Spoilers at the bottom to explain my full disdain.

Following a few generations of one family, the story begins with Will and Abby, falling in love and Will’s passionate pursuit of her. Tragedy strikes and the story shifts to center around their daughter Dylan before tackling a story set on the other side of the planet, in Spain. Javier works for a wealthy olive farmer Vincent Saccione and woos a lovely girl named Isabel.

Romance, tragedy, serendipity, some great acting and what do we get…..a horribly bleak and gloomy message full of psychobabble and useless tripe.

Fogelman’s overplays intrusive narration to spoon feed pompous dialogue to the audience to thread his story of bus accidents with suicide and cancer together. If you ever wondered what a Quentin Tarantino directed Richard Curtis would feel like, Life Itself shows us.

Last spoiler warning.

After a foul mouthed voiced sequence (narrated by Samuel L. Jackson), audiences quickly understand the Oscar Isaac’s Will is insane. The problem is that Fogelman’s chaotic approach to telling the story let’s us wonder: Why was he let out of an institution? He’s still nuts.

Yes, then he blow his brains out.

Then Fogelman let’s his characters, mostly Olivia Wilde’s Abby, ramble about this imaginary insight from a Bob Dylan song that we’re all supposed to grab hold of this melancholy meaning in life. But none it matters because tragedy can still be overcome, NOT by those characters, they are usually dead, but by their kids.

Yes, the real meaning to all of this is that you have kids, they can write or re-write history how ever they like, gleam some happiness and joy from whatever matters to them and ride the hopelessness train over and over again.



There is some great acting and the scene in Spain are surprisingly engaging from the lesser known cast. The fateful link between Olivia Cooke’s Dylan and Javier’s son Rodrigo is just dumb.

Fogelman couldn’t handle the harsh critiques, attacking them with this sexist and racist remark: “There’s a disconnect between something that is happening between our primarily white male critics who don’t like anything that has any emotion.”

Truthfully, this film is morbid, uninteresting and really a big downer. That is the emotion of the film.

He may call the world cynical and dark, but that’s the film he made. There is no hope or redemption in this film. The sorrow is replaced with what? Nothing and that… is Life Itself.

Life Itself gets 1 1/2 stars out of 5 stars


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About the Author

- Writer and Co-Founder of The Global Dispatch, Brandon has been covering news, offering commentary for years, beginning professionally in 2003 on Crazed Fanboy before expanding into other blogs and sites. Appearing on several radio shows, Brandon has hosted Dispatch Radio, written his first novel (The Rise of the Templar) and completed the three years Global University program in Ministerial Studies to be a pastor. To Contact Brandon email [email protected] ATTN: BRANDON

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