The cast of actors involved in this film would be enough to make me want to see this but something on the trivia section was even more instigating and then I went ahead. There, it was quoted about how the movie was incredibly overlooked by audiences and awards in the year of its release despite receiving favorite reviews from top critics who put this film as one of the top 10 best of 2005. Is it all that good? No, I'm afraid, I've seen better films that year. It is a good film but it doesn't fit such bill.
In the sense of avoiding old conceits, the vignettes of "Nive Lives" are above the average, which is always good in a world where repetitive stories become box-office hits immediately because most audiences like to know where they're stepping. But, when you see the film as a whole there are times you start to feel out of the experience, left out, trying to comprehend why all the stories doesn't have an ending and why would you embark in such journey if it never puts a dot in its discourses?
The nine lives of nine female characters are presented in nine short stories of 12 minutes approximately (filmed in one take each, no cuts), sometimes connecting with each other throughout its characters, other times they're just there, forming an emotional connection between them all. There, powerful and moving stories like the sudden encounter between a former couple (Robin Wright Penn and Jason Isaacs) in a supermarket, trying to restart from the point they ended (my favorite segment of all); or the meeting between mother and daughter (played by Glenn Close and Dakota Fanning) talking about things of life and death; the woman (Kathy Baker) fighting against the cancer, being faithfully supported by her husband (Joe Mantegna); and many others stories. What writer and director Rodrigo Garcia makes with all of this is to present a clear and real portrayal of how tough is to be a woman, their desires, fears, wishes, worries and how all of this are perceived in different worlds going from a prison (through the eyes of a female prison inmate) to the simple housewife, mothers, daughters, sisters, etc.
In a way, I found "Nine Lives" reduced to an certain simplicity, quite shallow, since the director haven't extended that to more possibilities and realities, I mean, where's the powerful women of the world? Where were the hard working professionals or even the ones who go through a lot of trouble dealing with abusive husbands, uncaring sons, that kind of characters? To me, he reduced some of the characters to the extent of being romantic figures coming out of an average literature.
However, this wasn't the worst problem with this film. The thing that bothered me most was how wearing this film could be as it unfolds with all those vignettes, some very interesting to see, others thoroughly tiresome, boring to the point of asking yourself what you're doing there watching this, a purpose. This movie would be perfect if Garcia would select three stories presented here, make them longer and with a conclusion just like the ones Rebecca Miller presented in "Personal Velocity". Some stories were so engaging, so brilliantly created that when it ended I was like "No, keep going. Why stop here?" and I'm sure this infatuated lots of viewers (I had a similar experience in "Paris Je t'aime" but that's a different story and a better film).
I can and will suggest this film but only go after if you like the actors involved with it (cast includes Aidan Quinn, Ian McShane, Amanda Seyfried, Sissy Spacek, Lisa Guy Hamilton, Miguel Sandoval, Stephen Dillane, Holly Hunter and others) or if you like film in this style. "Nine Lives" could have been more than it is but it's poetic message and its themes certainly are good enough to be appreciated by its audiences. 7/10