IMDb > Life During Wartime (2009)
Life During Wartime
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Life During Wartime (2009) More at IMDbPro »

Photos (See all 14 | slideshow) Videos (see all 3)
Life During Wartime -- Three sisters struggle with love, family and the American Dream in Todd Solondz's hilarious new film starring Allison Janney and Charlotte Rampling.
Life During Wartime -- Ten years have passed since a series of shocking and catastrophic revelations shattered the world of the Jordan family.  Now, ghosts circle and loom, trouble and console as sisters Joy (Henderson), Trish (Janney), and Helen (Sheedy) are each embroiled in their own unique dilemmas as they struggle to find their place in an unpredictable and volatile world where the past haunts the present and jeopardizes the future.
Life During Wartime -- Clip: Mind if I join you?


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6.4/10   5,249 votes »
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Up 1% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
Writer (WGA):
Todd Solondz (written by)
View company contact information for Life During Wartime on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
16 April 2010 (Italy) See more »
Friends, family, and lovers struggle to find love, forgiveness, and meaning in a war-torn world riddled with comedy and pathos. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
3 wins & 6 nominations See more »
User Reviews:
Let's hope the next Solondz film isn't a "spiritual sequel" See more (36 total) »


  (in credits order)

Shirley Henderson ... Joy

Michael Kenneth Williams ... Allen

Roslyn Ruff ... Waitress

Allison Janney ... Trish

Michael Lerner ... Harvey

Dylan Riley Snyder ... Timmy

Ciarán Hinds ... Bill

Renée Taylor ... Mona
Rebecca Chiles ... Hostess

Paul Reubens ... Andy

Emma Hinz ... Chloe

Charlotte Rampling ... Jacqueline

Ally Sheedy ... Helen

Gaby Hoffmann ... Wanda

Rich Pecci ... Mark
Carmen Marie Colon Mejia ... Sarah
Fernando Samalot ... Eddie

Meng Ai ... Jesse

Chris Marquette ... Billy
rest of cast listed alphabetically:

Susan Pages ... Bar Mitzvah Guest (uncredited)

Brian Tester ... Dave (uncredited)

Guillermo Valedon ... Bar Mitzvah Guy (uncredited)

Directed by
Todd Solondz 
Writing credits
Todd Solondz (written by)

Produced by
Ken Bailey .... co-producer
Andrew Peterson .... co-producer
Elizabeth Redleaf .... executive producer
Mike S. Ryan .... executive producer
Mark Steele .... associate producer
Derrick Tseng .... producer
Christine K. Walker .... producer (as Christine Kunewa Walker)
Cinematography by
Edward Lachman 
Film Editing by
Kevin Messman 
Production Design by
Roshelle Berliner 
Art Direction by
Matteo De Cosmo 
Costume Design by
Catherine George 
Makeup Department
Dominique Borrel .... makeup department head
Maureen Landa .... key hair stylist: Minneapolis
Maureen Landa .... key makeup artist: Minneapolis
Production Management
Rosi Acosta .... unit production manager
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Dave Halls .... first assistant director (additional photography)
Javier Enrique Pérez .... second assistant director (as Javier Enrique Perez)
Stuart Williams .... first assistant director
Art Department
Eddie Antunez .... set dresser
Jill Broadfoot .... set decorator: Minneapolis
Marsi Caraballo .... graphic designer
Amy Dholakia .... additional graphics (as Amy S. Dholakia)
Jorge Fernandez .... assistant property master
Juan Guallini Indij .... set dresser
Matt Joyer .... set dresser
Tanya Lemke .... property master: Toronto
Mariella Navarro .... art department coordinator
Ricardo Naveira .... construction coordinator
Brian J. Simpson .... set dresser: Minneapolis
Oscar A. Colom Cruz .... set dresser (uncredited?)
Sound Department
Paul Bercovitch .... sound effects editor
Jeremy Fleishman .... foley editor
Dave Fritz .... adr recordist
Fredrick Helm .... dialogue editor
Luis Antonio Landrau .... boom operator
Gary Millus .... sound editor
Jim Morgan .... second unit mixer
Eric Offin .... sound re-recording mixer
Eric Offin .... supervising sound editor
Brian Vancho .... foley artist
Visual Effects by
Lucien Harriot .... visual effects supervisor: Mechanism Digital
Ted Keenan .... visual effects producer
Jesse Morrow .... visual effects artist
Kevin Vale .... digital imaging
Camera and Electrical Department
Terry Banting .... gaffer: Toronto
Darren Boyce .... key grip: Toronto
Randy Brown .... best boy electric: Toronto
Angel Castro .... Red camera digital loader
Kathryn Criston .... electrician: Minneapolis
Javier Cruzado .... best boy grip
Sam Kretchmar .... digital imaging technician
James McMillan .... key grip
Gabriel Padilla .... best boy electric
Misael Rodriguez-Quijano .... assistant camera
Francisco Román .... still photographer
Fernando Rosado .... first assistant "a" camera
Steve Speers .... first assistant camera: MN
Carlos Zayas .... camera operator: "a" camera
Casting Department
Camille Collazo .... casting assistant
Jennifer Ensworth .... casting assistant (as Jennifer Ensworth)
Gayle Keller .... casting
Tere Lopez .... casting: Puerto Rico
Brendan McFadden .... casting assistant: Los Angeles
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Ciara Brennan .... costume supervisor: Toronto
Cameron Dale .... assistant costume designer (as Cameron Folan)
Katalina Iturralde .... set costumer
Angie Olmedo .... costumer
Anita Ramirez Velez .... key costumer
Cerah Tymoshuk .... costumer: Minneapolis
Editorial Department
Dana Bloder .... digital intermediate producer
Jesse Morrow .... smoke editor
Kathryn J. Schubert .... assistant editor
Daniel Silverman .... digital imaging supervisor
Tim Stipan .... digital intermediate colorist
Michael P. Whipple .... digital intermediate engineer
Lee Wimer .... color timer
Charles Herzfeld .... post facility supervisor (uncredited)
Music Department
Doug Bernheim .... music supervisor
Transportation Department
Jose Arias .... transportation captain
Luis A. Jurado .... transportation coordinator
Other crew
Sara Alvarez .... production coordinator
Victor Andujar .... production assistant
Juan Carlos Arvelo .... key set production assistant
Khan Baykal .... additional voices
Kara Blanchard .... assistant: Ted Hope
Dave Boulay .... location scout
Jeff Caron .... location manager
Carol A. Compton .... script clearance
Luis R. Estrella-Rivera .... location manager
Alejandro Garay MacLean .... production assistant
Tom Garrett .... production services
Kelly Gilpatrick .... production coordinator: additional photography
Lauren Hodges .... additional voices
Kemel Jamis .... production assistant
Todd B. Johnson .... stand-in: MN
Jeffrey Leiser .... post-production delivery
Martin Garay MacLean .... production assistant
Raul J. Marin .... payroll accountant
Rita Medina .... location office assistant
Aris Mejias .... production secretary
Liliana M. Molina .... script supervisor
Dan O'Halloran .... post-tape operator
Jedrek Oquendo .... production assistant
Susan Pages .... stand-in
Misael Rodriguez-Quijano .... office runner
Joel Thingvall .... location scout
Alicia Van Couvering .... assistant: producers
José R. Varona .... set medic
Michael Wiggins .... production accountant
Kurt W. Gensmer .... set medic (uncredited)
Eric Milano .... special thanks
Kristen Molina .... special thanks

Production CompaniesDistributorsSpecial EffectsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
Rated R for strong sexual content, brief nudity, and language including some disturbing dialogue
98 min
Aspect Ratio:
1.85 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Argentina:16 | Australia:MA (2010) | Canada:14A (Alberta/British Columbia/Manitoba/Ontario) | Canada:14A (British Columbia/Ontario) | Canada:13+ (Quebec) | France:U (with warning) | Ireland:16 | Italy:VM14 | Netherlands:12 | Portugal:M/16 | Singapore:M18 | Sweden:11 | UK:15 | USA:R (certificate #46345)
Filming Locations:

Did You Know?

Title taken from the title of a song by Talking Heads.See more »
Trish:Are you seeing anyone?
Mark Wiener:No, I'm more focused on China. Everything else is history. It's just a question of time.
See more »
Movie Connections:
References Palindromes (2004)See more »
Messiah, HWV56. Part I: Duet. He shall feed his flock like a shepherdSee more »


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33 out of 46 people found the following review useful.
Let's hope the next Solondz film isn't a "spiritual sequel", 20 September 2010
Author: match-3 from United States

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.

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