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Life (I) (2015)

R  |   |  Biography, Drama  |  4 December 2015 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.3/10 from 1,337 users   Metascore: 55/100
Reviews: 8 user | 84 critic | 5 from Metacritic.com

A photographer for Life Magazine is assigned to shoot pictures of James Dean.



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In theaters December 4.



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Nicholas Ray
Natalie Wood
Messy Actress
John Blackwood ...
Raymond Massey
Publicity Trooper
John Morris's Secretary
Allison Brennan ...
Jack Warner's Assistant


A snapshot in time-the film chronicles the story behind the 1955 LIFE magazine photo thread by Dennis Stock of then-rising star, James Dean, and gives us an inside look at some of Hollywood's most iconic images and into the life of a gifted, but troubled man.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


From Rebel to Icon. Based on a True Story.


Biography | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for some sexuality/nudity and language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:


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Release Date:

4 December 2015 (USA)  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Dane DeHaan turned down the role of James Dean five times as he felt intimidated playing such a respected figure. His wife, Anna Wood, eventually convinced him to take on the role. See more »


References On the Waterfront (1954) See more »

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User Reviews

17 February 2015 | by (Amsterdam) – See all my reviews

Potentially this could have been the most interesting work from Anton Corbijn, as he is himself a well-known portrait photographer. The story is about Magnum photographer Dennis Stock (Pattison) convincing a reluctant upcoming James Dean (DeHaan) to follow him to make a series of portraits. As you might know, Magnum set new standards in photography and Stock in his famous series contributed to a completely different view on portrait photography of stars: natural setting, confrontational, honest and direct.

During the movie, a bond grows between the two, as Dean turns out to be an atypical Hollywood star ignoring the rules set out by his superiors resulting in several confrontations. Stock largely ignores his duties to his former wife and their child and becomes obsessed by Dean's idiosyncrasy. The second part is the most interesting as it almost deconstructs Dean's life and character: Dean comes from a farmland family of Quakers, likes local poets and is fond of his background and actually despises stardom. Stock is first able to shoot pictures in New York (you probably know the famous photograph) and in Indiana.

So what are the downsides: the pacing is too slow, the editing certainly not perfect and the most important trap: Corbijn as photographer is too much in love with the story, finding details relevant that are actually not that relevant. The question keeps popping up: Why does this matter? Life fails in a way as a mood piece, but is still a relatively good and stable character drama as the deconstruction works well.

Maybe both Pattison and DeHaan are too light to pull this off more convincing, but one role is certainly amazing: Ben Kingsley as Jack Warner is so spot-on you will be remembering the character despite the limited screen time.

13 of 20 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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