Life Itself Review: 2 Ups & 8 Downs

7. The Handling Of Sensitive Subjects

Life Itself
Amazon Studios

Fogelman is no stranger to writing stories that delve into sensitive subject matters, it's practically all he does on This Is Us. And Life Itself is no different, involving storylines rooted in subjects such as mental illness, depression, miscarriages, and even suicide.

But never before as he so cavalierly dismissed the gravity and impact of these concepts in the name of shock. When Dr. Cait Morris finally reaches through Will's jumbled memories and intentionally unreliable narration, he is forced to realize that his wife Abby is dead. He then immediately pulls a gun out of his bag and shoots himself in the head.

Absolutely none of this is even remotely earned. Just like in every other instance in this film, Fogelman goes for the jugular for a cheap shock rather than for anything meaningful. Similarly, when the film later picks up decades later with Dylan, Will and Abby's orphaned daughter, the film just kind of glosses over any kind of arc for her in favor of just painting her as a perpetually sad and lonely girl in need of saving.

Fogelman founds his narrative on subject matters that require the most delicate of handling and then proceeds to treat them with all the care of a four-year-old putting their action figures in a blender to see if they'll still be intact when it's over.


A film enthusiast and writer, who'll explain to you why Jingle All The Way is a classic any day of the week.