I don’t mind being uncomfortable during a film. In fact, some of my favorite directors (Almodovar in particular) do a fantastic job of tackling uncomfortable issues in a tasteful way. The direct opposite can be said of Todd Solondz in Life During War Time. With out-dated, out-played, and unfunny jokes, the film follows the lives of a family in suburban Florida who for the majority, are all annoyingly out-of-touch about very serious and traumatic experiences; molestation, pedophilia, suicide. The impressive set of actors play an unfortunate bratty and predictable set of characters leading the story to have very little focus. The only character to really question his moral universe is Timmy, who saves the film of its empty core. At one point, watching this film felt tedious and difficult–did I really just pay $13.00 dollars to see this? The film does have moments of real depth when it addresses the topic of ‘forgiving and forgetting.’ Unfortunately, neither aspect is fully explored and Solondz seems uninterested in presenting a real question/answer to the issue.
But — the Village Voice loved it & A.O. Scott wrote a favorable review so…maybe you should Netflix it? (not to be sent home! Wait till it comes out on Instant).