Life During Wartime

Genre:  Comedy, Drama
Running Time:  98 min.
Release Date: August 27, 2010 (limited)
DVD: July 26, 2011

Current rating: Rating: 4.25
based on 8 votes and 3 reviews
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Cast: Shirley Henderson, Ciarán Hinds, Charlotte Rampling, Allison Janney, Michael Kenneth Williams, Michael Lerner


Separated from her incarcerated husband Bill (Ciarán Hinds), Trish (Allison Janney) is about to be married again. Bill is a pedophile, so Trish couldn't be more excited to have Harvey (Michael Lerner), a "normal" father figure for her two sons. But when Bill is released from prison and the boys finally meet their future stepdad, the family is forced to decide whether to forgive or to forget.

Trish's sister, the virginal, angelic Joy (Shirley Henderson), is also haunted by ghosts of lovers past. On leave from her degenerate husband, Allen (Michael Kenneth Williams), and her job at a New Jersey correctional facility, Joy unwittingly leaves behind a trail of shame and exposed secrets wherever she goes. In one of the film's most stylized sequences, the image of Joy walking the dark streets of Miami in her nightgown maintains her innocence against a backdrop of self-affliction and desire.

Director: Todd Solondz
Studio: Entertainment One
Producer(s): Derrick Tseng, Christine Kunewa Walker
Screenplay: Todd Solondz

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  • 4 stars "Todd Solondz's Life During Wartime is a sort-of sequel to his previous flick,Happiness.Here the same characters are portrayed by different actors.The title is from a song by Talking Heads.There are many themes involving sadness,regret,hopelessness and old ghosts both real and imagined. It's good that the director didn't use the title: Too Much Happiness!Allison Janey,Shirley Henderson,Charlotte Rampling are all outstanding.This is not for all tastes, but it is rewarding for its audacious originality."
  • 3 stars "I found this film unsatisfying. It's a very dark film (which is fine), but I didn't find the black humour all that amusing (and neither did anyone else in the theatre). And the ending was unsatisfying for me too. If you're a fan of Todd Solondz you will probably enjoy it; otherwise, save your money."
  • 5 stars "Fans of "Happiness" will love this follow up. Dark as oil black comedy that's brilliantly crafted."