Nine Lives (2005)

R  |   |  Drama  |  2 September 2005 (Italy)
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Captives of the very relationships that define and sustain them, nine women resiliently meet the travails and disappointments of life.


(as Rodrigo Garcia)


(as Rodrigo Garcia)
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9 wins & 10 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Aomawa Baker ...
Female Guard
Deputy Sheriff Ron
Mary Pat Dowhy ...
Second Male Guard
Sandra's Daughter
Diana (as Robin Wright Penn)


Captives of the very relationships that define and sustain them, nine women resiliently meet the travails and disappointments of life.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Every life has a story. And every story has a life of its own.



Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language, brief sexual content and some disturbing images | See all certifications »



Release Date:

2 September 2005 (Italy)  »

Also Known As:

9 vite da donna  »

Filming Locations:

Box Office


$500,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$28,387 (USA) (14 October 2005)


$478,645 (USA) (26 May 2006)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


While the film was largely overlooked by moviegoers, critical reaction was generally favorable and both Roger Ebert and Richard Roeper included it on the year end top 10 lists. See more »


Maria: How come they say cats have nine lives?
See more »


Featured in 2006 Independent Spirit Awards (2006) See more »


Sonate N. 13 en Mi Bemol Majeur Op. 27 N. 1
Written by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performed by Abdel Rahman El Bacha
Courtesy of Promusic
See more »

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User Reviews

A Moving Series of Valentines to Women and the Actresses Who Play Them
24 October 2005 | by (Queens, NY) – See all my reviews

"Nine Lives" is a valentine to women as a life force (from pregnancy to abortion, and only incidentally about sex, to care-giving and death), and the superb actresses bask like flowers in the sun at the attention.

Writer/director Rodrigo García creates nine vignettes, each introduced by the central character's name like a chapter heading, as master acting classes. In about ten minutes, each actress, and occasionally their male supporters, go from zero to ten, less through the language, which is so natural it seems improvised, but through their faces, bodies and inflections.

Each woman faces an emotional crisis involving her relationship with a loved one -- parent, child, lover, husband, sister; sometimes the stories start them at a high point and they reach a catharsis, others are in the midst of a normal day and then get socked with interactions that rock their balance. Each tries to stay in control of their situations, with emotional prices to pay. About half the characters briefly cross-appear in stories that may come before their previous appearance, mostly to add ironic meanings to a situation or dialog that would have a different impact without the added information from the other vignette. A refrain of "I can't stop thinking about you" comes with different meanings about love and guilt or obsession each time, though this is more about connections between people (as symbolized by the webs behind the interstitial name cards).

The two hander with Robin Wright Penn and Jason Isaacs (with a very creditable American accent, though he seemed to be playing a very similar character as he did on "West Wing") packs a wallop, mostly through Penn's expressions and complete body language, from her eyelids to her fingers to her feet. A shopping walk through the long aisles of your neighborhood supermarket may never have quite the same expectations. Garcia's gliding camera work adds to the emotional freight as by widening and lengthening the frame he gradually reveals more information about the two characters.

Amy Brenneman paying respects at a funeral builds up in nervousness as we learn more about the complicated background of her relationship with the deceased, then goes for a crescendo in a brief, almost silently dynamic interaction with an explosive William Fichtner. This may be the first time that certain American Sign Language words have been used in a movie.

Lisa Gay Hamilton's character is so emotionally wrought that you get agitated just watching her, even as we cry over why she's so radioactive.

Kathy Baker facing surgery reveals more of the emotional complications for couples facing medical issues than a dozen Lifetime TV movies.

Garcia well shows women caught between strong people, particularly the vignettes with Amanda Seyfried and Holly Hunter, though the latter recalls "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?" too much. Molly Parker creates warm chemistry with women as a friend in two stories. Dakota Fanning actually acts her age and seems like a natural child for a change in her vignette with Glenn Close.

I presume this was shot on digital video, judging by the saturated look of the beautiful cinematography. What will be lost by waiting to see the film on DVD will be the subtle details of the actresses' fulfilling performances that should be seen on a big screen.

34 of 39 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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