Life During Wartime (USA; 98 min.)

directed by: Todd Solondz
starring: Shirley Henderson; Allison Janney; Michael K. Williams; Michael Lerner; Ally Sheedy; Charlotte Rampling
Life During Wartime

Diane says: "Sequel to Todd Solondz's HAPPINESS (1998), which I loved. New actors
play the characters some years on (although I was convinced that some of the women were the original actors--wrong!). Once again, the almost-laughable discomfort of inappropriate remarks, the contradiction of loving a person who does evil, normalcy catching us by surprise. More to chew on than I expected, with an exploration of forgiveness exemplified by Timmy's bar mitzvah speech. Great music choices. Paul Reubens has grown up!

"I'd see this again. And I recommend seeing HAPPINESS before this, if you haven't already. 4 cats"

Thom says: "I am a monster fan of HAPPINESS, my favourite film from 1998 (also Bruce’s #1 film for 1998). Basically, I think of Solondz as one of the Greatest Living Directors after seeing WELCOME TO THE DOLLHOUSE, HAPPINESS, STORYTELLING, & PALINDROMES (all 5 CATS). And I did adore LIFE DURING WARTIME, rushing out to see it at a theatre the week it opened here. Joy (Shirley Henderson, Jane Adams), Allen (Michael K. Adams, Philip Seymour Hoffman), Trish (Allison Janney, Cynthia Stevenson), Timmy (Dylan Riley Snyder, Justin Elvin), Bill (Cyrian Hinds, Dylan Baker), Mona (Renee Taylor, Louis Lasser), Andy (Paul Reubens, Jon Lovitz), & Helen (Ally Sheedy, Lara Flynn Boyle) are the recognizable characters from HAPPINESS that all show up here in the new film (the first named are the new actors) so LIFE DURING WARTIME takes place sometime after the earlier film. Most of the new actors do brilliant work here although Shirley Henderson is off by a mile with her part (I love Henderson so it pains me to admit this). While I hung on every minute of the movie about this truly dysfunctional group of people (no one does dysfunctional like Solondz) when it was over something seemed missing. Sure, most of the eccentrics were in the same old rut, so that was a slight drawback (people can grow), but the hilarious irony came through loud and clear. And yet, when it was all over I wanted a lot more. And as Diane suggested it will work a lot better if you’ve seen HAPPINESS (not that anyone would have missed that masterpiece) LOLOL. 4 1/2 cats"