Down 1,743 this week

Life During Wartime (2009)

 -  Comedy | Drama  -  16 April 2010 (Italy)
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 6.5/10 from 4,715 users   Metascore: 69/100
Reviews: 36 user | 155 critic | 30 from

Friends, family, and lovers struggle to find love, forgiveness, and meaning in a war-torn world riddled with comedy and pathos.



Watch Trailer
0Check in

Watch Now

From $2.99 on Amazon Instant Video

Editors' Spotlight

IMDb: What to Watch - The One I Love

Interview with Charlie McDowell and Mark Duplass

User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

a list of 40 titles
created 25 Dec 2010
a list of 45 titles
created 29 Jul 2011
a list of 24 titles
created 07 Sep 2011
a list of 22 titles
created 9 months ago

Related Items

Connect with IMDb

Share this Rating

Title: Life During Wartime (2009)

Life During Wartime (2009) on IMDb 6.5/10

Want to share IMDb's rating on your own site? Use the HTML below.

Take The Quiz!

Test your knowledge of Life During Wartime.

User Polls

3 wins & 6 nominations. See more awards »



Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Happiness (1998)
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

The lives of many individuals connected by the desire for happiness, often from sources usually considered dark or evil.

Director: Todd Solondz
Stars: Jane Adams, Jon Lovitz, Philip Seymour Hoffman
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

Insightful look at an unattractive 7th grader as she struggles to cope with un-attentive parents, snobbish classmates, a smart older brother, an attractive younger sister, and her own insecurities.

Director: Todd Solondz
Stars: Heather Matarazzo, Christina Brucato, Victoria Davis
The Savages (2007)
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

A sister and brother face the realities of familial responsibility as they begin to care for their ailing father.

Director: Tamara Jenkins
Stars: Laura Linney, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Philip Bosco
Dogtooth (2009)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

Three teenagers are confined to an isolated country estate that could very well be on another planet. The trio spend their days listening to endless homemade tapes that teach them a whole ... See full summary »

Director: Giorgos Lanthimos
Stars: Christos Stergioglou, Michele Valley, Angeliki Papoulia
Storytelling (2001)
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

College and high school serve as the backdrop for two stories about dysfunction and personal turmoil.

Director: Todd Solondz
Stars: Selma Blair, Leo Fitzpatrick, Robert Wisdom
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

Based on the true childhood experiences of Noah Baumbach and his brother, The Squid and the Whale tells the touching story of two young boys dealing with their parents' divorce in Brooklyn in the 1980s.

Director: Noah Baumbach
Stars: Owen Kline, Jeff Daniels, Laura Linney
Another Year (2010)
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

A look at four seasons in the lives of a happily married couple and their relationships with their family and friends.

Director: Mike Leigh
Stars: Jim Broadbent, Ruth Sheen, Lesley Manville
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

A land baron tries to reconnect with his two daughters after his wife is seriously injured in a boating accident.

Director: Alexander Payne
Stars: George Clooney, Shailene Woodley, Amara Miller
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

An estranged family of former child prodigies reunites when their father announces he is terminally ill.

Director: Wes Anderson
Stars: Gene Hackman, Gwyneth Paltrow, Anjelica Huston
Rushmore (1998)
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

The extracurricular king of Rushmore preparatory school is put on academic probation.

Director: Wes Anderson
Stars: Jason Schwartzman, Bill Murray, Olivia Williams
Young Adult (2011)
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

Soon after her divorce, a fiction writer returns to her home in small-town Minnesota, looking to rekindle a romance with her ex-boyfriend, who is now happily married and has a newborn daughter.

Director: Jason Reitman
Stars: Charlize Theron, Patrick Wilson, Patton Oswalt
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

Satirical comedy follows the machinations of Big Tobacco's chief spokesman, Nick Naylor, who spins on behalf of cigarettes while trying to remain a role model for his twelve-year-old son.

Director: Jason Reitman
Stars: Aaron Eckhart, Cameron Bright, Maria Bello


Cast overview, first billed only:
Allen (as Michael Kenneth Williams)
Rebecca Chiles ...


Separated from her incarcerated husband Bill (Hinds), Trish (Janney) is about to be married again. Bill is a pedophile, so Trish couldn't be more excited to have Harvey (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 (Henderson), is also haunted by ghosts of lovers past. On leave from her degenerate husband, Allen (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. Written by Production

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Comedy | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for strong sexual content, brief nudity, and language including some disturbing dialogue | See all certifications »




Release Date:

16 April 2010 (Italy)  »

Also Known As:

Forgiveness  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$30,507 (USA) (23 July 2010)


$278,821 (USA) (17 September 2010)

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Title taken from the title of a song by Talking Heads. See more »


Mark Wiener: Are you seeing anyone?
Trish: No, I'm more focused on China right now. Everything else is history, it's just a question of time.
See more »


References I'm Not There. (2007) See more »


Sabmila Bolo
Written by Uma Nanda Saraswati, Michael Schlofmitz, David Smith J Read Fasse
Performed by Lokah
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

Let's hope the next Solondz film isn't a "spiritual sequel"
20 September 2010 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

First off, while I'm not a fan of everything Solondz has done, I consider Happiness one of my all-time favorite films. Thus, I was really looking forward to Life During Wartime, but after the film was over, I ended up wishing that Solondz had just left Happiness alone. It feels like a direct-to-video exploitation release, or maybe even an especially polished but ultimately off-model fanfic selection in an alternate universe where Happiness somehow holds the stature of Harry Potter.

I am OK with the decision (probably forced, given the current stature of folks like Philip Seymour Hoffman) to recast everyone involved. But given that this is effectively billed as a spiritual sequel, it's hard to get past some of the resulting serious discrepancies in performance and character. Ally Sheedy, Allison Janney, Claran Hines and Michael K. Williams all turn in otherwise-good performances that unfortunately have very little in common with their characters' original personalities, making believable continuation impossible. Dylan Snyder's Timmy represents a new character that effectively replaces the role of Billy in Happiness, but he's nowhere near as believable or likable as that character was.

Shirley Henderson, in particular, totally misses the tone and purpose of Jane Adams in the role of Joy, who was perhaps the only "sympathetic" character in the original (other than Billy). We no longer experience Joy as a sweet, lovable granola-crunchy dreamer and world-worn lifelong loser. Instead, Henderson comes off as some kind of generally-emotionless whispering wee faerie with none of Adams' warmth or ability to generate pathos. I do, however, greatly enjoy Paul Reubens' spot-on performance in the place of Jon Lovitz's original Andy-- although Andy's role in this movie is now inexplicably central, given how little he really mattered to Joy past the first half-hour in Happiness.

It's hard for a Happiness fan to get past the labored and extremely drawn-out exposition that results from all these character discrepancies. You get the feeling that Solondz is having to take unusual pains to catch us up on the story, and to get us to buy New Actor Y in the role of Old Actor X. The movie starts to finally lift up out of these dregs in the last half hour or so, just in time to make us wonder what the point was, and/or why he didn't just create an entirely new universe with his entirely new cast to save himself (and us) all the trouble. I can't imagine a viewer who has never seen Happiness would find its first two-thirds any more satisfying for all the effort.

Most troublingly for those who can't help but compare (and appropriately so, given the "spiritual sequel" billing), Happiness is a darkly hilarious movie, with most of the humor coming from the unspoken sadness and/or maliciousness of its desperate characters' interactions. Life During Wartime simply isn't funny, and isn't similarly "subtle." It's melodramatic, almost soap-opera-like in tone, with few of the wonderfully dissonant, squirm-in-your-chair moments that made Solondz' '90s works so entertaining (and so fun to show to the uninitiated). It often feels like we're being hit over the head with the "purpose" of each character in Wartime, rather than letting their actions / words simply speak for themselves as it was in Happiness.

This might have been a somewhat OK movie if it had been a fresh start with no baggage from Solondz' masterwork. Obviously, it's hard for any director / producer / screenwriter to escape from their widely-beloved past works if they choose to do something different. But in this case, Solondz actually *chose* to bring that baggage along, and dares fans of the original to make comparisons (as is immediately evident from even the opening scene and credits to anyone who remembers Happiness). I'm not sure if this was a cynical effort on the part of Solondz-- who has had documented troubles getting funding for his 00s movies-- to cash in on the relatively small Happiness fanbase, giving them a movie that they "have to see," even though these two films ultimately have very little in common.

Solondz' more recent work in general has been disappointing to me, but his misguided effort to "continue" Happiness has been by far the biggest and most bitter disappointment yet, failing to add anything new, interesting or even tone-appropriate to the universe he wants us to revisit. I desperately hope he's done making "spiritual sequels" now, and will have something really new to say (hopefully as funny as his old stuff) when his next project rolls around.

32 of 45 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Film Stock fish293
Irresponsible flaw ddk999
Honestly the worst film I have ever seen hippy84
Sad vanity project. dingdongdenny
Life During Wartime's potent message tricyclic_looper
IFC In Theaters - Charter on Demand sarcastic_nature
Discuss Life During Wartime (2009) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: