Dan Fogelman is the showrunner for This Is Us. Season 2 of This Is Us just wrapped last night and Kathleen is probably still crying so the timing was perfect for the trailer premiere of Fogelman’s new film, Life Itself, opening in September, around festival season which, perhaps, means it’ll try to contend for some awards next year.
Life Itself stars Olivia Wilde and Oscar Isaac who fall in love but … something happens and then we’re sad. Oscar tells Annette Bening why he’s sad. A child is lifted up to the sky by a father figure who adores her and this isn’t necessarily sad but it’s supposed to touch the place in your heart that’s right next to sad – sentimental? – and make you cry all the same.
This Is Us is a show about crying. Life Itself looks like it’s a movie about crying.
And I get it. I get that a good cry never hurt anyone. That a good cry is sometimes necessary not just as a way to confront the hurt but, sometimes, to protect from the hurt. There are shows and movies that do this well, bring on the good cry. There are shows and movies, however, that make the crying its own plot point, the purpose of a story. This is when I check out. Did you see Lion? Lion, for me, was pure emotional manipulation. Which took me right out of the story.
So I’m curious to see where Life Itself falls on the crying spectrum. As Kathleen just wrote in her post about This Is Us, Dan Fogelman does the emotional manipulation often enough on the show. How much of it will show up in Life Itself? And will that turn Oscar Isaac into Jack?
He’s already the internet’s boyfriend. Does this movie make him the MiniVan Majority’s husband?