7.7/10
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Matters of Life and Death (2007)

Three siblings struggle to maintain control of their lives after the unexpected death of their parents thrusts them into an uncertain world of adulthood.

Director:

Joseph Mazzello

Writer:

Joseph Mazzello
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1 win. See more awards »

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Cast

Credited cast:
Rachael Leigh Cook ... Emily Jennings
Joseph Mazzello ... David Jennings
Nick Heyman ... Jon
David Strathairn ... Mr. Jennings
Daniel Gillies ... Jimmy
Gwen Van Dam ... Grandma Barbara
Michael Hobert ... Mike
Alex Martinez Alex Martinez ... Young Jon
Aram Stevens Aram Stevens ... Young David
Wing Armstrong ... Baseball Umpire
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Walter Hochbrueckner ... Homeplate Umpire
Dani Jayden ... Student (as Dani Miura)
Melissa Jeanne Melissa Jeanne ... Student
Spencer Kelly Spencer Kelly ... Student
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Storyline

Three siblings struggle to maintain control of their lives after the unexpected death of their parents thrusts them into an uncertain world of adulthood.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Short | Drama

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Details

Official Sites:

Official site | Official site

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

2007 (USA) See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$50,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Joseph Mazzello put in $20,000 of his own money into the film and raised a further $30,000 from fans. See more »

Quotes

Jon: How's Emily?
David Jennings: The doctor just called, sounds like she's going to be okay.
Jon: Good.
David Jennings: We're all going to be okay
[pauses]
David Jennings: come on champ let's go celebrate.
See more »

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User Reviews

 
A Moving and Inspiring Directorial Debut
11 April 2007 | by LGevirtzSee all my reviews

Joseph Mazzello has made an accomplished debut as a writer-director with this 30-minute short on the aftermath of the 9/11 tragedy. The film was made pretty much on a shoestring (with most of the financing coming from members of Mazzello's fan club), but the result is quite impressive. It was clearly a labor of heartfelt love, and resonates with emotion. The tale of how three siblings react to the sudden deaths of their parents could easily have made for a maudlin film. Yet, Mazzello's care with his actors and the understated tone he imparts to the production result in a moving, inspirational effort. The performances of Rachel Leigh Cook and Nick Heyman as two of the siblings and Gwen Van Dam as the grandmother are fine and brimming with honesty, and David Strathairn puts in a warm cameo in a flashback as the father. Most essential to the success of this film is the performance of Joseph Mazzello himself as the brother and son who holds the family together. He shows an impressive range in his reactions to his plight, running the gamut from weary resignation to rage to hopeful determination. In this, he confirms the talent he displayed as a child star, and surpasses his previous work. And he shows great promise as both a writer and director. Though focusing on the situation of one particular family, Mazzello presents observations and comfort to a nation that is still grieving over a shared catastrophe. It's quite an achievement for a 23-year-old, and hopefully the beginning of a storied career along the lines of his fellow red-headed ex-child star Ron Howard.


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