“Life Itself” (Amazon/Stage 6)
By Catholic News Service
Pretentiousness and sentimentality weigh down this drama from writer-director Dan Fogelman. It’s a collection of interlocking, intergenerational stories that begins with a couple (Oscar Isaac and Olivia Wilde) happily expecting the arrival of a daughter, then follows the baby’s life as both a child (Kya Kruse) and a grown-up (Olivia Cooke) and links her destiny to that of a Spanish family (parents Sergio Peris-Mencheta and Laia Costa and son Alex Monner) through a fateful visit they pay to her native New York.
Instead of allowing the sometimes-melodramatic events, in which Antonio Banderas also figures in the guise of a wealthy gentleman farmer, to speak for themselves, Fogelman heavy-handedly tries to drive home a message about what they mean. Along the way, he includes a few plot developments with which even some adult viewers may be uncomfortable.
Brief scenes of suicide and accidental death with gore, mature themes including abortion, drug use, a premarital situation, an ambivalent treatment of marriage, a few uses of profanity, a couple of milder oaths, pervasive rough and much crude language. The Catholic News Service classification is A-III — adults. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is R — restricted. Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian.