The Life Before Her Eyes

August 14, 2011 - Evan Rachel Wood and Uma Thurman play younger and older versions of the same character, a high school student who experienced a Columbine-like tragedy. The cast in this R-rated film from 2007 also includes Eva Amurri (Susan Sarandon's daughter), Brett Cullen and some other familiar faces.

Wood is the younger version of Diana, a high school student who is, to put it mildly, a handful. Her single mom wholly approves when Diana becomes friends with Maureen (Amurri), a church-going goody-two-shoes. Fast forward to senior year, and Diana and Maureen are chatting in the lavatory before homeroom. Suddenly, they hear gunshots. Then, the young gunman bursts into the bathroom and presents them with an impossible choice.

The film then begins skipping between flashbacks of Diana's young life (Maureen teaching her to drive, Diana having an abortion, words of advice from a teacher) and her life 15 years later. Now, she's married to a Philosophy professor (Cullen), teaching at a community college and mom to a young daughter, Emma. But, despite her seemingly perfect life, grown-up Diana just can't seem to get past that terrible day in high school.

Overall review: *** I'm not quite sure it deserves three stars, but I think it deserves more than two, so I'll round up. Thurman and Wood (especially Wood) excel in their roles. So does Amurri. The movie had me sucked in until the very end, when I suddenly felt cheated. Then, after some thought (and, admittedly, some Internet research), I realized what had been going on all along. I'm still not sure it made me feel any less cheated, but it at least made things make sense.