I never watched This is Us because it just never appealed to me. Don’t get me wrong. I’m sure its a great show since the ratings are high and I hear good things. However, after watching Life Itself, I’m quite sure I have no intention of seeing the show. This film was such an emotionally manipulative mess of a film. It was a real disappoint all around which is shame with the cast involved. I’m going to go into everything I hated about the film.
The film is one of those, yes. The stories are interwoven, the characters all connect to each other through generations. We start off with the love story between Oscar Isaac and Olivia Wilde’s character then switch to their daughter (played by a completely underused and underutilized Olivia Cooke). Then we switch to Spain…. to connect the stories in such an “omg this is miraculous” way. What can I say, the film does so much wrong. I can see the potential but its a disaster from the get go.
We start off with narration from Samuel Jackson narrating the story of a gay man in therapy, which actually has nothing to do with the film. Oscar Isaac plays his most annoying character to date. Olivia Wilde’s character’s thesis on the inaccurate narrator is terrible and an even worse way to try to connect the narration of the connected stories. Olivia Cooke is one of my favorites but she has glaringly little screen time, and is completely unlikable for the 5 minutes she gets.
Then you switch to a story in Spain that drags and intends to pull at your heartstrings. It doesn’t though. That’s the main issue with the filmmaker and the outlined story. Its not effective in getting you invested and its a bit ridiculous how things connect at the end. I see what Dan Fogelman was going for but he was really reaching with this and focused on all the wrong aspects. He somehow made a film with unlikable characters that you just can’t care for. Life Itself is bad.