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Generally favorable reviews - based on 26 Critics What's this?

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7.6

Generally favorable reviews- based on 5 Ratings

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  • Summary: Just after the death of her newly-born sister, Chanda, 12 years old, learns of a rumor that spreads like wildfire through her small, dust-ridden village near Johannesburg. It destroys her family and forces her mother to flee. Sensing that the gossip stems from prejudice and superstition,Just after the death of her newly-born sister, Chanda, 12 years old, learns of a rumor that spreads like wildfire through her small, dust-ridden village near Johannesburg. It destroys her family and forces her mother to flee. Sensing that the gossip stems from prejudice and superstition, Chanda leaves home and school in search of her mother and the truth. (Sony Picture Classics) Expand
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 17 out of 26
  2. Negative: 1 out of 26
  1. Reviewed by: Roger Ebert
    Aug 31, 2011
    100
    The film's ending is improbably upbeat: Magic realism, in a sense. It works as a deliverance. Dennis Foon's screenplay is based on the novel "Chanda's Secrets" by Canadian writer Allan Stratton. It is a parable with Biblical undertones, recalling "Cry, the Beloved Country."
  2. Reviewed by: Manohla Dargis
    Jul 14, 2011
    80
    A grave and quietly moving story about a South African girl of extraordinary character, does something that few painful dramas accomplish: It tells a tale of resilience without platitudes about the triumph of the human spirit or without false promises about an unclouded future.
  3. Reviewed by: Kimberley Jones
    Sep 22, 2011
    78
    In its third act, Life, Above All takes a bit of a dip into la-la land, in terms of believability – how precisely is an impoverished family supposed to have afforded an ambulance and hospice care? – but that doesn't diminish the emotional impact of Manyaka's performance and the idea that courage can be infectious, too.
  4. Reviewed by: Justin Chang
    Jul 10, 2011
    70
    It's an absorbing, vividly inhabited tale nonetheless, never exploiting its horrors but rather treating them as tough local realities.
  5. Reviewed by: Liam Lacey
    Jul 14, 2011
    63
    Walks a line between didactic allegory and realistic drama.
  6. Reviewed by: Joshua Rothkopf
    Jul 12, 2011
    60
    The sincere director, Oliver Schmitz, injects too much movie into his movie; life (above all) would have been enough.
  7. Reviewed by: Ilya Tovbis
    Jul 19, 2011
    38
    By the time the narrative winds toward its key revelation, even the most earnest viewer is numbed and emotionally desensitized by the unfathomable bleakness already overcrowding the screen.

See all 26 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 1 out of 1
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 1
  3. Negative: 0 out of 1
  1. Feb 5, 2012
    8
    Life above all is a befitting title for this film. A parable on the value of human life, where prejudices continue to out weigh the value ofLife above all is a befitting title for this film. A parable on the value of human life, where prejudices continue to out weigh the value of another. Until one is willing to find the internal strength to take a stand against these mysticisms in favor of building human character. While there may be inequities this film shines in realism and humanism. Expand

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