Life During Wartime: The Criterion Collection
In Life During Wartime, independent filmmaker Todd Solondz (Welcome To The Dollhouse) explores contemporary American existence and the nature of forgiveness with his customary dry humor and queasy precision. The film functions as a distorted mirror image of Solondz's acclaimed 1998 dark comedy Happiness, its emotionally stunted characters now groping for the possibility of change in a post-9/11 world. Happiness's grim New Jersey setting is transposed to sunny Florida, but the biggest twist is that new actors fill the roles originated in the earlier film - including Shirley Henderson (Topsy-Turvy), Allison Janney (The Ice Storm), and Ally Sheedy (The Breakfast Club) as alarmingly dissimilar sisters, and CiarÃ¡n Hinds (Persuasion) hauntingly embodying a reformed pedophile. Shot in expressionistic tones by cinematographer extraordinaire Ed Lachman (Far From Heaven), Solondz's film finds the humor in the tragic and the tragic in the everyday.