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  • I was floored by the simple idea that is the basis for this movie, "Some things almost never happen." and how that was acted out in the every day lives of the characters. How the smallest choices that you make -- walking into a restaurant or not, taking a job, having a drink, not answering the phone -- can make such a huge difference in a person's life. I came away from the movie thinking that it isn't always the obviously huge decisions you make in your life that make up who you are...those are important, but so are the decisions that you make every day. The actors and actresses didn't overact -- nothing was overdone or cheesy -- the music was quiet and undramatic. I especially enjoyed Catherine O'Hara's performance -- I could hear people in the audience giggling around me at some of her lines. She is funny, and perfect in this role.

    If you want to see a subtle yet flooring and enjoyable movie -- check this out. Don't expect the usual sappy hollywood ending...thankfully this movie has a real ending. Parts of it are laugh out loud funny. I walked out of this movie and immediately said "I have to find this on DVD." I guarantee you'll want to see it again too.
  • Etrigan19 January 2004
    Actually, unlike the last "reviewer", I thought it was a very well put together piece of Canadian cinema. The cast is well chosen, the stories all tie together in an explosive ending, overall its a sound piece of film.
  • The Life Before This is one of those films most producers would be scared of making and most studios would have no idea how to market, which is a shame. Hollywood needs more movies like this. It is by no means a happy-go-lucky, feel-good, quickly forgotten movie like most crap put out today. It actually makes you think(God forbid!) about the importance of seemingly trivial choices that we make everyday and how much ability we have to unknowingly affect the people around us. Sarah Polley is absolutely amazing in this film, which is pretty par for the course with her, but the other actors are all strong enough to not be overshadowed. Credit should go to the director for switching between and connecting multiple story lines with ease and still making you feel like a really know all of the characters. If you're a fan of big budget, action-laden blockbusters or easy to digest fluff, stay away!!! LBT is an intelligent, eloquent, understated, and disturbing(but not unnecessarily or frivolously) film with all the subtlety and nuance of a Sofia Coppola pic. The acting is superb, the script is superb, the cinematograhpy is superb, everything simply works. This movie will leave you questioning, depressed, disturbed, and moved, and yet despite all this, there is something oddly life affirming about it. Rent it and see for yourself.
  • danimo17 November 2002
    I've just read a few of the comments on this film, and I can't believe how much people hated it. I adored it. I admit that I was bored at first, but then I suddenly found myself deep in it, and enthralled by the characters. I think that's why people didn't like it. If you're looking for a chronological narrative with closure, this isn't for you. But if you're looking for an in-depth and personal look into people's lives, and how lonely, confused, and scared they can be, this is it.

    Sarah Polley is incredible as always. She's been one of my favorites for years. And Catherine O'Hara made me remember how much I adore her. She's absolutely wonderful. I could go on... Stephen Rea, Joe Pantoliano, everyone here has a chance to shine, and they do. They show you how people can hurt.
  • I agree with a previous reviewer in saying that this film had good potential. And in some spots, it comes through on this promise. Unfortunately, when all is said and done, this film does feel a bit incomplete with some things left unexplained.

    On the plus side, I like how it shows that life can change very drastically with just one seemingly irrelevant incident or event. However, I felt that there were other ironies that were intended or even implied, but the film failed to get them across. If these ironies were explained, and all of the stories connected in more than just the beginning and the ending, this would have been a much better film and I believe it would have fulfilled its potential.

    I must say, despite its flaws, I liked it. But I could've liked it better...
  • Through quirky characters and intelligent Altman like set pieces, the film maker explores themes of destiny and fate in a sensitive and engrossing film. The ending makes us all reflect on our own life and on how the smallest actions can have the most dramatic impact on the way our things turns out.

    Despite the film starting at the end, the final outcome is completely unpredictable and questions the notion that our future is preordained.

    Ultimately this low key film tackles well worn themes with more impact than more publicised films such as Sliding Doors.
  • darkestgirl19 October 2002
    i caught this movie on HBO and i thought it was awesome. maybe it was because i had read a book with no plot, just showed peoples lives in NYC and how they connect, and it was an amazing book. i thought this movie was remarkable - maybe because i didn't need the sense of closure, seeing how everyone's lives ran together into the coffee shop shooting at the end was enough for me. i liked it.
  • rps-225 April 2001
    Yet another graphic example that Canada should stick to making maple syrup and ice wine. At those we're good. The movies STINK. This is the most pointless, pretentious, pathetic picture I've seen this year. (And I've seen some pretty awful ones, most of them Canadian.) It's even more galling that my tax money helped fund this dismal exercise in cinematic self gratification. It's a pathetic tale of how several different people spend their day before they all end up being massacred in the same coffee shop by some fleeing bad guys. What the hell is the point of it? Was it inspired by the high profile Vivi Lemonis murder case in Toronto. (She was an innocent bystander shot to death in a coffee shop by three punks.) If so, why not make a decent movie about that incident? Somebody said here that at least this movie portrayed Toronto as Toronto and not NYC. Too bad. It's about as much a reason for civic pride as Hurricane Hazel and the Boyd gang. Gawd!!!!!
  • Warning: Spoilers
    ***SPOILERS*** We see right from the start a number of people from different walks of life casually entering a trendy Toronto coffee shop for a drink or bite to eat. A car outside being chased by a police cruiser crashes into a parked van and the two men inside run into the café, and what looks like some kind of an altercation on their part, guns are pulled out. All of a sudden all hell breaks lose and what seems like about a dozen persons in the coffee shop end up massacred in the crossfire.

    As you try to get your bearings at what you just saw we then see what seems like the morning 12 hours back in time as were slowly introduced to the very people who we've just seen being shot down. The movie then plays itself out for the next hour or so where were again brought back, or forward, in time to the same café. To have a replay of the shootout but with some major changes in those who are to be in it, and who's going to end up being shot. And most importantly the personal lives of the people both in and out of the café giving them all an emotional connection or tie-in with each other as well as us watching the film. We see in a number of unrelated scenes about the stories behind the people that are in that café and how them being there will change, or end, their lives forever.

    There's the embezzling fund and money managing attorney Jack Maclean who had played with one of his clients, the late Mrs. Garrison, money and lost it in a number of failed real-estate ventures. And now has to face the music, and be disbarred or even worse, if he doesn't come up with the $200,000.00 he took from her by the end of the week. There's the story of the sad-sack and distort pest exterminator Brian who still hasn't gotten over the tragic death of his young daughter. And it's causing him to slowly withdraw from those he has any professional as well as social contact with.

    There's the sweet and musically talented young student Jessica who's conned and talked into by her conniving friend Phoebe to blackmail her French professor the honorable Monsieur Farrin by concocting a false and spurious charge against him in that he looked up her skirt and even attempted to make a grab at her. This is all done not to get Prof. Farrin to give her a passing grade, Jessica in fact has the best grades in the class, but to pass Phoebe who has a very poor academic record. As well as her being on the verge of being expelled for failing the very important schools French exam. There's the middle-age and never married seamstress Sheena who's nervous about seeing a blind date that she's to meet that evening outside the café because of her previous experiences with men that she dated. Sheena's last few dates ended up with men who are more interested in themselves then with her.

    There's also the young teenage Judy Garland look-alike Margaret who works at the café as a cashier and is at the same time trying to break into the theater whom her actress mom is one of it's bright and shining lights. And there's Margaret's friend Connie who also works behind the counter and is having troubles with her boyfriend Justin over her not spending more time with him. All these people together with the fugitive gambling den robbers Nick Kevin and their wheel-woman Nick's girlfriend Alice lives intersect at the café and are to be, in the first as well as second scenario of the event, linked to each other. Either for better or for worse but most of all for good.
  • The Life Before This "The Life Before This" is one of those many unconcluded motion pictures events, where there's obviously a lot to say, but there's nothing said at all. It's one of those films with a spectacular premise that shows great promise, but has nothing to give; it is one of those projects where great actors use their talents while we wonder what the hell they are doing there. I remember "All The Rage".

    So, as expected, it is unavoidable to watch the film after its introduction. You may think many times later, that there's no content in it, or that nothing's going to happen, but still you stay focused because the ending is something you want to see no matter what. Meanwhile, the music is intriguing, the stories are many, the characters are real and the performances are good.

    Joe Pantoliano, always trustful, plays a lawyer with a big debt to pay. He has a brother who, he thinks, sells illegal substances and makes a lot of money for it. They don't speak, but Jake goes asking him for money, and the scene is quite interesting. In fact, many scenes are. Stephen Rea, as a hard working man who lost his daughter and probably himself, plays a part in two scenes that inspire trance.

    Catherine O'Hara plays a single woman who was married and dated gay men, and is now looking for a date; but is too worried about what couples live every day and how difficult it is. Leslie Hope, David Hewlett and Joel Keller play a team (sort of) that wants to commit a robbery but have too much on their minds and a lot of preoccupations. A 20-year old Sarah Polley is superb as she moves in with her boyfriend, who wants to be the man of her life.

    Emily Hampshire portrays Margaret, a girl with self-confidence issues, whose mother is an actress when she wants to act, but doesn't want her mother to know. Young Alison Pill is a very smart young girl, a prodigy that plays the violin and loves French, but wants to be with other more popular girls and do different stuff.

    Believe or not, all of the situations I've explained have a connection. Is not the kind of connection you'd expect of a powerfully moving film where characters are the one with the connection and you can see it along the film. It is the type of film where the connection is determined by an event; an event that shows all of the characters.

    There's one scene, of a young couple talking, about a train accident that happened the day before the movie takes place. "If I had been in the train, I wouldn't be with you here", the girl says. "Yeah, but you weren't and you are", the boy says to her. "But one little thing can change everything; If I hadn't chosen Biology class I wouldn't have met you and I wouldn't love you now".

    That theory about one thing being able to change everything it is most likely what explains the last scene of the film that wants to be thought provoking and ends instantly. Canadian Director Jerry Ciccoritti hasn't done many things after this and hadn't done much before. Writer Semi Chellas worked his mind off to come up with this.

    As I said, it was not a bad idea. But they both missed the emotional connection, and one subject that worked as the main core of their piece. This could have been a great film…It's bad.