Life Just Is (tbc)

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The ViewLondon Review

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Review byJennifer Tate06/12/2012

One out of Five stars
Running time: 102 mins

Awkwardly acted with an entirely unconvincing script, Life Just Is is an unimaginative and quite frankly dull British drama about a group of friends whose day-to-day lives are just not interesting enough to hold a feature film together.

What’s it all about?
Written and directed by Alex Barrett and produced by Tom Stuart, Life Just Is is a British drama about the everyday lives of five recent graduates and friends living next door to each other in London and the struggles they face with relationships, money and finding their place in the world. When Claire (Fiona Ryan) and Tom (Nathaniel Martello-White) develop feelings for each other and Pete (Jack Gordon) goes on a solo literary journey to discover the meaning of life, friendships are tested and each of them are forced to grow up in their own different ways.

The Bad
Save for Eastenders star Paul Nicholls (whose acting experience and familiarity is palpable next to his much younger cast members), the performances as a whole are terribly unconvincing, forming the basis to why Life Just Is is a rather arduous watch. As the group awkwardly laugh and joke with each other on the sofa, it’s impossible to believe these characters are the old friends Barrett wants us to believe they are, thanks to their undeniable lack of friendly chemistry and ability to bounce off each other the way good friends comfortably would. Even the light-hearted, friendly punches thrown at each other when one says something they shouldn’t have are nauseatingly stiff and Fiona Ryan’s fake, lifeless yawns as the night grows late are enough to make us want to nod off ourselves. A little more energy, enthusiasm and passion both onscreen and behind the camera certainly wouldn’t have gone amiss.

The Worse
Ironically, the film actually opens with the group watching a terrible, corny rom-com and discussing how it doesn’t resemble reality with its fairytale happy ending and how it just doesn’t reflect how life really works. Well, funnily enough, neither does Life Just Is. Although it picks up ever so slightly in the second act, the script all feels a bit too contrived and unnatural (information is thrown in in strange places for quick character development) and the camera angles are limited and unimaginative. Finally, comments on the group’s painful-on-the-ears rendition of The Wildhearts’ ‘Geordie in Wonderland’ during a drunken sing-along are probably best left unsaid.

Worth seeing?
Barrett puts in a passable effort for his well-intentioned debut feature but ultimately, Life Just Is is nothing to write home about thanks to the staid characters, stiff performances and below par script. One to miss.

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Content updated: 25/04/2019 20:50

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