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The Life Before Her Eyes

The Life Before Her Eyes

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    Based on the novel by Laura Kasischke, this powerful drama, starring Uma Thurman, unfolds in out-of-sequence flashbacks. Recklessly hedonistic teenager Diana (Evan Rachel Wood) and her best friend, a Christian virgin (Eva Amuri), come face to face with a machine-gun-wielding classmate one morning at school in a situation reminiscent of Columbine. Thurman plays the grown-up version of Diana, who has a perfect life in the same small town 15 years after the tragedy. On the anniversary of the shooting, unpleasant flashbacks haunt her as she takes her daughter to school, lectures on Gauguin to a bored art history class, and possibly spots her older professor husband out with a younger woman. As the events cohere and time collapses, one realizes nothing is certain and life renews and ends on a moment-by-moment basis. Under the helm of Vadim Perelman (HOUSE OF SAND AND FOG), a spiritual presence is imbued in lovingly photographed close-ups of flowers, dirty dishes, cats, ants, spiders, bees on flowers, leaves, and Wood diving in and out of a swimming pool in slow motion. The dialogue is peppered with believably offhand philosophical inquiry, and if the film does nothing else, it makes one reevaluate one's perspective on the sanctity of every life decision--and to feel a degree of awe and reverence for the acting skills and beauty of both Thurman and Wood, who meld believably into the same complex character.