As troubling signs of global cataclysms accelerate, a brother and sister react to their father's desertion and the powerful presence of their mother's new boyfriend.




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Credited cast:
Pamela Wu
Saura Wu (as Julia Nickson-Soul)
Scott Parker
Ben Redgrave ...
Jonah Robertson
Richard Parker
Lorraine Parker
Timothy Wu
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Mary Angello ...
TV Anchorman
Toby Evetts ...
Documentary Announcer
Terry Hartman
Chris Flint ...
Man in Riot Scene


A precocious boy and his jaded sister use their imaginative powers to escape a confining home-life, save their self-destructive mother from her charmingly manipulative boyfriend, and finally reinvent their world in a mind bending conclusion. Written by Wendell

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Drama | Sci-Fi



Official Sites:



Release Date:

19 January 2008 (USA)  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$1,000,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Developed at the Film Independent (FIND) Directors Lab under the instruction of film and television director Rodrigo García. See more »


Referenced in Behind the Couch: Casting in Hollywood (2005) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Enter the Dream.
17 January 2010 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

"Half-Life," Jennifer Phang's first feature film is an impressive debut. A blend of family drama, magic realism and sexual exploration.

Set in the rolling hills of Northern California suburbia, "Half-Life" centers around the lives of Saura Wu (Julia Nickson), a mother of two struggling to keep herself together, her teenage daughter Pam (Sanoe Lake), her 10 year old son Timothy (Alexander Agate) and her live-in boyfriend of five weeks Wendell (Ben Redgrave).

We learn that the family patriarch abandoned the trio some time ago. The aftereffects still resonate and are played out in Saura's hurried relationship with the much younger Wendell, Pam's crush on her gay friend Scott (Leonardo Nam) and Timothy's frequent escapes to an alternate reality. The latter provides the film's fantastic animated sequences courtesy of artists Matt Pugnetti, Catherine Tate and Ryan Schiewe, to name a few, which are sure to be compared to Richard Linklater's 2001 "lucid dream" "Waking Life."

The performances in "Half-Life" are strong and evoke the sense of isolation the characters feel, none more so than young Agate's turn as the imaginative Timothy. Kudos to Phang for educing such a solid performance. Nickson and Lake are also note-perfect as the mother/daughter duo who are more alike than they realize, as they both battle to keep their lives in what little order they have left.

The rest of the cast is rounded out nicely by James Eckhouse and Susan Ruttan as the voluntarily ignorant parents of the attention seeking Scott and Lee Marks as Scott's unassuming boyfriend Jonah.

"Half-Life" moves at a methodical pace reminiscent of Shyamalan at his best. Michael S. Patterson's beautiful score expertly complements, as well as haunts, the piece lending it a quiet calm amidst a canvas awash in turmoil.

Cinematographer Aasulv Austad wonderfully captures the grace and charm and contrasting hustle and bustle of the East Bay Area.

Hearkening back to Paul Thomas Anderson's "Magnolia" and the works of the late Robert Altman, Phang possesses a touch for creating relatable characters intertwined in multiple story lines. She's definitely one to keep an eye on.

"Half-Life" is a stunning beginning to what looks to be a promising career.

9 of 12 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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