Critic Reviews



Based on 30 critic reviews provided by
In a staring contest with his audience, Solondz never blinks. He picks and picks at the themes that consume him, and he doesn't care who stays and who leaves. Me, I'm rapt.
A heady mix of deadpan humor that boldly uses such topics as pedophilia, race and terrorism to plead the need for forgiveness at a personal and national level.
In revisiting his darkly comic 1998 ensembler "Happiness," Todd Solondz may have made his best film with Life During Wartime.
Life During Wartime slices deeply into its characters' weaknesses.
Dark to a specific point of dullness or even opacity, Solondz requires patience, as always, but indulgence as well. He relies on your remembrance of his other films and characters but also on your willingness to overlook his redeployment of tactics that range from puerile to mildly -- and somehow always self-skeptically -- profound.
Solondz conjures a world that's rotting away from the inside, in which only the children--freckle-faced Dylan Riley Snyder and Emma Hinz--weep over the loss of moral authority. This might be some kind of goddamned masterpiece, but I'm not sure I want to watch it again to say for sure.
Village Voice
Todd Solondz is back. Life During Wartime shows the misanthropic moralizer as confounding and trigger-happy as ever, his big clown thumb poised over a garish assortment of hot buttons--race, suicide, autism, sexual misery, self-hatred, Israel, and, his old favorite, pedophilia.
The A.V. Club
"Happiness" was, in its own dry, muted way, a howl of fatalistic despair discernible to anyone who's ever felt life had run out of cruel tricks to play. Life During Wartime is less a reprise of that howl than its echo.
Possibly a brave and interesting triumph for its director, but definitely a cold-eyed heartless bore for his audience.
What some critics praise as astute and compelling, I find juvenile and fraught with hysteria. There's no arc here, no real pathos, and the direction is like watching snow melt on the side of a road.

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