'Life, Above All' Critic Reviews

100%
MovieWeb:   1 reviews
82%
Rotten Tomatoes:   74 reviews
  • Manohla Dargis New York Times (Top Critic)
    80
    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.
    Full Review » 3 years ago
  • Philip French Guardian [UK] (Top Critic)
    At the centre of this plain, extremely touching film is a heart-rending performance from Khomotso Manyaka...
    Full Review » 4 years ago
  • Cath Clarke Guardian [UK] (Top Critic)
    60
    Hypocrisy, ignorance and fear are seen with almost unbearable clarity through the eyes of a South African girl in this unflinching study of Aids stigma.
    Full Review » 4 years ago
  • Michael O'Sullivan Washington Post (Top Critic)
    63
    "Life, Above All," a deeply moving South African drama about AIDS and ostracism, manages to be, paradoxically, both austere and uplifting.
    Full Review » 3 years ago
  • Ty Burr Boston Globe (Top Critic)
    75
    If [its] allegorical underpinnings blur the film's edges, the performances bring it back into focus.
    Full Review » 3 years ago
  • Melissa Anderson Village Voice (Top Critic)
    Life, Above All suggests that ignorance and stigmatization are a problem only in the village, not in the highest office of government.
    Full Review » 3 years ago
  • Joe Neumaier New York Daily News (Top Critic)
    60
    The movie stares clear-eyed at a world where any kind of hope seems like a dream.
    Full Review » 3 years ago
  • Joe Morgenstern Wall Street Journal (Top Critic)
    This is a modest film, and an affecting one.
    Full Review » 3 years ago
  • Roger Ebert Chicago Sun-Times (Top Critic)
    100
    "Life, Above All" earns the tears it inspires. The film is about deep human emotions, evoked with sympathy and love.
    Full Review » 3 years ago
  • Colin Covert Minneapolis Star Tribune (Top Critic)
    63
    This is a heartening story of resilience told without false uplift. It is hopeful without being mawkish, realistic but not oppressive.
    Full Review » 3 years ago
  • Randy Cordova Arizona Republic (Top Critic)
    80
    Perseverance is the theme of "Life, Above All," a drama that is deeply affecting, if also overwhelmingly bleak.
    Full Review » 3 years ago
  • V.A. Musetto New York Post (Top Critic)
    50
    A downer that too often resorts to melodrama.
    Full Review » 3 years ago
  • Roger Moore Orlando Sentinel (Top Critic)
    75
    Life, Above All, is a sometimes gripping drama about this child who has to grow up too fast, who has to keep her family together and alive, and has come to terms with the stigma that her neighbors place on them.
    Full Review » 3 years ago
  • Bruce Demara Toronto Star (Top Critic)
    88
    A wrenching and powerful testament to the resilience of the human spirit in the face of a remorseless disease and societal prejudice.
    Full Review » 3 years ago
  • Eric Kohn indieWIRE (Top Critic)
    Although loaded with dramatic consequence, "Life, Above All" is slight.
    Full Review » 3 years ago
  • Liam Lacey Globe and Mail (Top Critic)
    63
    Newcomer Manyaka, who as Chanda carries the family's burdens on her slender shoulders, is compelling -- she always seems to be leaning forward, ready to walk head first into her next battle.
    Full Review » 3 years ago
  • James Adams Globe and Mail (Top Critic)
    75
    Bernhard Jasper's cinematography, under Oliver Schmitz's direction, is at once funky and elegant while the scrip... is inspiring without resorting to any cheap sentimentality.
    Full Review » 4 years ago
  • Globe and Mail (Top Critic)
    75
    Full Review » 4 years ago
  • Andrew O'Hehir Salon.com (Top Critic)
    Nicely splits the difference between ethnographic realism and melodramatic uplift.
    Full Review » 3 years ago
  • Mary Corliss TIME Magazine (Top Critic)
    The director and his splendid cast assure that this tale about a strong little girl fighting to keep her family alive and together has both high art and a big heart, audience appeal and gut impact.
    Full Review » 3 years ago
  • Sheri Linden Los Angeles Times (Top Critic)
    60
    Manyaka gives the character a gaze so true it could only open hearts and minds.
    Full Review » 3 years ago
  • Roger Moore McClatchy-Tribune News Service
    75
    A gripping African drama about a child who has to grow up too fast, who has to keep her family together and alive, and has come to terms with the AIDS stigma that her neighbors place on them.
    Full Review » 2 years ago
  • James Plath Movie Metropolis
    80
    Art with heart.
    Full Review » 3 years ago
  • Philip Martin Arkansas Democrat-Gazette
    83
    ...there's an undeniable fierceness and intelligence in Manyaka's lead performance. She's far from a polished actor, but there's real steel there.
    Full Review » 3 years ago
  • Rob Thomas Capital Times (Madison, WI)
    75
    "Life, Above All" is an incredibly sad movie that never relies on sentimentality, and is as clear-eyed about the story as its forthright young heroine.
    Full Review » 3 years ago
AVG. RATING 3.5 GREAT
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