Critic Reviews

69

Metascore

Based on 30 critic reviews provided by Metacritic.com
85
Jagged and gentle, shocking and sweet, Life During Wartime finds the King of Cringe more concerned than usual about forgiveness: who deserves it, and who is capable of bestowing it. True to form, though, he's not telling.
83
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.
80
The common problem of Solondz's characters is an inability to see the world in shades of grey, which is fitting in a film where color-garish, boring or just plain ugly-is so important, and the actors are working off palettes of such extreme emotions. A few of them-notably Ms. Rampling, Mr. Hinds and Ms. Sheedy-are as good here as they've ever been.
80
The Hollywood Reporter
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.
75
Charlotte Rampling goes for broke as a sexually rapacious older woman. So does Ally Sheedy as a rich woman. They're memorable, and yet equally satisfying is Ciaran Hinds' sadness and restraint as a paroled sex offender with deviancy in the blood.
75
Too many of the sequences are two-character dialogues that take place in restaurants; after a while, the film starts to resemble sketch existentialism.
75
Thanks to the evocative cinematography of Ed Lachman, it is bathed in a celestial light that cannot penetrate the existential darkness of its characters.
75
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.
75
While it obviously isn't for all tastes, this is a big, thematically rich step forward -- mostly it's about tolerance and forgiveness -- from the empty provocation of Solondz's "Storytelling" and "Palindromes." About time.
75
Todd Solondz isn't for everyone, maybe not even most people...he's a comic filmmaker whose idea of entertainment is shredding chum into a shark tank.
40
You will find a few glimmers of humanity in Todd Solondz' latest exercise in acerbic observation. But Solondz continues to mistake judgment for honesty, and empathy for weakness.

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