Still Life

User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 13 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 11 out of 13
  2. Negative: 1 out of 13

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User Reviews

  1. RobertH.
    Nov 29, 2008
    The film has it's moments but when compared to the director's previous efforts the filmmaking here strikes me as far too lazy, relying too much on the backdrop and nonactors at the cost of lackadaisical narrative. if you don't edit your view of life enough to focus our attention where's the art?
  2. Feb 27, 2015
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. I actually really enjoyed this movie (that is, if you can enjoy a movie about loneliness and death). Eddie Marsan, as Mr. May, does a wonderful job of portraying what living in the world as an unconnected being is all about. Ironically, his job is to find connections for others like himself, who have passed on with no known family or friends. He diligently tries to provide for them what he lacks in his own life- at least one person who cares. His boss berates him for spending too much time and money trying to find relatives or friends who would come to a funeral and says the person is dead, so doesn't care. But Mr. May seeks to honor their lives as best he can- he keeps all their pictures in a photo album which he looks at frequently- as long as he remembers them, they haven't lived a wasted life. He even tries to give them a funeral in whatever religious tradition they followed, if he can find evidence of one. Of course, the final irony is that he is responsible for bringing a family together on the last case he had before his job was terminated, and as the funeral is going on and all the people he found are gathered there, he is being buried in the same cemetery, alone, with no mourners (he gets hit by a London double-decker bus). The only reason I gave this less than a 10 was for the final scene- where all the dead people he had served in his job are seen as spirits coming to surround his grave to pay their respects and as a thank you to him- it was just a bit campy and intended to tug at heartstrings, in which it succeeded, but a little too much on the 'and he died happily ever after' side. Otherwise, I enjoyed Mr. May's sensitive, gentle soul and wished more people in today's world were as caring- a good moral lesson there. Expand

Awards & Rankings


Universal acclaim - based on 10 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 9 out of 10
  2. Negative: 0 out of 10
  1. Reviewed by: Derek Elley
    Has almost zero plot but molto mood. It will appeal to the most faithful of the director's camp-followers and no one else.
  2. 70
    Despite all this desolation and depression, however, Still Life is an extremely beautiful movie.
  3. 80
    As usual, Jia's people tend toward the opaque--one of the movie's most enthusiastic conversations is conducted with ringtones. But his compositions have their own eloquence. Everything's despoiled and yet--as rendered in cinematographer Yu Lik-wai's rich, impossibly crisp HD images--everything is beautiful.