Want to see hit show This Is Us as a movie? The TV show’s creator Dan Fogelman gets you pretty close with his film Life Itself. A half hour into the film it slaps you in the face and you sit up and pay attention contemplating “have I seen a film grapple with authentic emotions in this way before?” If you have, it’s not likely you’ve seen it done by this caliber of acting. Starring an ensemble cast of people spanning generations and crossing continents, some of the best work easily belongs to Oscar Isaac and Olivia Cooke. So much more talent echoes through the film though, rarely is there a scene where something dramatic doesn’t come up.
Speaking of, Fogelman uses emotive plotlines and story throughout – so know that ahead of time and quit complaining about how shocked or surprised you are. Philosophy majors take note, though it falls flat sometimes, a motif of the movie lies in how we all tell our stories through varying lenses and people in our lives can be interpreted myriad ways, by us, themselves and others. A grand question in life – right up there with “better to have loved and lost or…never have seen this movie?”
Where it could have been fractured, the intense plot and emotional character driven acting resonates well enough even in the sequential way the movie is narrated. Life itself brings us to our knees, so when you leave the theater, remember its message to go farther and find love.