SXSW ’11: Life in a Day – Review



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Literally a movie for our time

In July 2010, YouTube announced a project like no other. They invited all users to upload video of their lives on July 24, 2010 to be used in a feature length film to be produced by Tony Scott and Ridley Scott, and directed by Oscar winner Kevin McDonald (The Last King of Scotland, One Day in September). The videos poured in from around the globe, spanning over 190 countries, giving the editors over 4500 hours of footage to whittle down into a 90-minute feature. Each contributor would be given a credit on the film as a director. The result is Life in a Day, a film not to be missed, a time capsule of what life was like on Earth on July 24, 2010.

The film starts off with normal morning routines, spliced together video of people brushing their teeth, showering, even going to the bathroom. One man from Virginia even took video of his parking garage elevator at work, as it goes up and down. The tone then changes as we go throughout the day, literally from everywhere on the planet. We see a woman getting dressed up for her skype date with her husband who is deployed. We see a man in the hospital. We see a little girl getting ready for her big appearance in town, with video taken from her helmet camera, as she climbs to the top of a human pyramid.

What is interesting is that looking back at my notes for the film, the moments that stood out for me were focused on women and the roles of women in society. But that was just my film-going experience. There are so many stories being told in Life in a Day that you could literally take away anything you want from it. It could be interpreted in many different ways. It’s unlike anything I’ve ever seen before; completely entrancing.

The film ends with sundown, and an extremely poignant monologue by a girl trying to discover her place in this world and meaning in her life. Life in a Day shows us that no matter how miniscule, no matter how ordinary we think our lives are, we all have a purpose. This is an inspiring, uplifting film. The phrase “A Movie For Our Time” gets thrown around way more than it should, but the film truly is a time capsule of what life was like on earth for one day.


Director: Kevin McDonald, and many others
Notable Cast: Everyone
Writer(s): Everyone

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