It’s Diana’s friendship with Maureen that anchors the film and gives it a moral complexity that keeps the film from becoming another well-acted but morose drama. Still, the film’s ultimate meaning is frustratingly mysterious, keeping the film at some remove even as it presents themes of hope and redemption that Christian viewers might want to embrace. The conclusion offers a murky resolution to the film’s central question about the outcome of the life-or-death scenario in the school bathroom, but at the same time it undercuts the impact of the issues examined by the film.

“I thought if I lived a certain way … I could make everything alright,” Diana says. But everything is not alright in Diana’s life, and never can be. Though the film tries to wrap up its story, it fails to satisfy. Nevertheless, it does leave viewers with deeper questions, if they care to wrestle with them. Is a life without hope worth living? How long can we ignore God’s influence in our lives and not respond to His leading? The Life Before Her Eyes suggests these potent themes but settles for a surface resolution that feels like a gimmick. In the end, The Life Before Her Eyes is reduced to a third-rate M. Night Shyamalan twist rather than rising to the largely unexplored Bergman-esque spiritual drama at its core.


Questions? Comments? Contact the writer at crosswalkchristian@earthlink.net.

CAUTIONS:

  • Language/Profanity:  Lord’s name taken in vain; profanity.
  • Drugs/Alcohol:  Several scenes of smoking and references to “getting high”
  • Sex/Nudity:  A boy is said to have exposed himself; jokes about pelvic region; teens snuggle on a couch, then have sex; woman in a tub is shown naked from the shoulders up.
  • Violence:  School shooting is heard, with victims seen later; a woman knees a man in the groin; a dead bird is shown covered with ants; blood stains sheets after a woman has an abortion; woman appears to be hit by a car; a woman is shot multiple times.
  • Religion:  Discussion of conscience as “the voice of God”; a girl says she had a vision of God; reference to a possible past life; nuns cross themselves; crosses are put out in recognition of lives lost to abortion.