The figure of the unreliable narrator centers the doctoral thesis of one of the characters of Like life itself, a circumstance that inspires the first major coup d'état in this second feature as director of Dan Fogelman. The first few minutes of the film are entrusted to the voice-over, avowedly unreliable, of a Samuel L. Jackson who does not take long to break the fourth wall, leaving the viewer with no holds. A clear anticipation of another rupture something more radical that Fogelman will punctuate with a long silence that marks the maximum peak of risk that this delirious melodrama is willing to reach.
LIKE LIFE ITSELF
Address: Dan Fogelman.
Interpreters: Oscar Isaac, Olivia Wilde, Antonio Banderas, Sergio Peris-Mencheta.
Gender: drama. United States, 2018
Duration: 117 minutes
Those who know This is Us, Fogelman's television series, can form a certain idea of the underlying theme: the conviction that, despite the apparent chaos of existence, all lives are connected through a secret network of meaning. And, in fact, that certainty ends up by revealing that the author of Like life itself is, precisely, the type of storyteller who would never trust his speech to an unreliable narrator, because it requires an active reader (or spectator) and what is clear is that ambiguity and nuance have not been invited to this Party of underlining, obviousness and free speech closed. In fact, Fogelman himself is responsible for disavowing the doctoral thesis of the aforementioned character, according to which every narrator – except life itself and even then – is, in essence, an unreliable voice.
The constellation of hazards that will unite two families – one of New York intellectuals, another of Andalusian olive growers – through an improbable love story leads this critic to think that perhaps Fogelman had as a model the melodramas of Julio Medem. There is something here, in fact, of the recent The tree of blood, but the synchronicities, like the hazards or the supposedly reliable narrators, are always suspicious: yes, the device of both films could be similar, but here there is a lack of madness and poetry, because Fogelman wants (or believes) to be daring, but only within a order (very cheesy).