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'Life in a Day 2020' Review — Beautifully Simple

by Jonathan Sim about a month ago in movie review

No spoilers!

Ten years after the original Life in a Day documentary, we are getting the sequel we never knew we needed. Kevin Macdonald directs Life in a Day 2020. This documentary is comprised entirely of crowdsourced footage sent by people all around the world, filmed on one day: July 25, 2020.

What’s great about a film like this is how there is no other movie like it. This is a beautifully simple movie that works not only due to its novelty but also in how it approaches its subject. Rarely does a film provide such a unique look at human nature, and this documentary does it in the best possible way.

This film has an extra layer of distinctiveness due to the fact that it took place in a year unlike any other; while discussions for a sequel to Life in a Day happened long before the pandemic, the existence of the ongoing situation added more to the film than you could possibly expect.

While narrative films surrounding the coronavirus have ranged from grossly exploitative (Songbird) to just plain boring (Locked Down), this is not some glossy, fictionalized version of the pandemic; it’s real, and it shows it from so many different perspectives.

Film is such a powerful medium because of how it functions as a time capsule. The fact that we can watch a movie from the 1950s and see the fashion, technology, and personalities of the age is pure magic, and Life in a Day 2020 takes it to a new level by taking away the actors and replacing them with real people with real issues, emotions, and routines.

To think that people decades from now will have the opportunity to look back on 2020 in the form of a movie such as this is very special. This movie has a level of authenticity that many films and even other documentaries don’t have.

Because this documentary is entirely made up of crowdsourced footage, it doesn’t follow one story — everyone on Earth is living their own story right now, and this film provides us with bite-sized glimpses of a million different stories.

Parts of the film can feel depressingly real, with the shots of streets and stadiums without a soul in sight to the appearance of the Black Lives Matter protests along with ignorant people who entirely miss the point of these protests, revealing their true colors.

But this documentary won’t only be special to those who watch it a few years down the line. While we tend to think we have a good understanding of the current situation, this film allows us to see life from so many perspectives beyond our own, giving a look at how people live across the globe.

If you’re anything like me, you’ve probably spent at least a few nights feeling lonely, depressed, and frustrated due to the lack of human interaction. However, this film provides us with a ton of company. Seeing all of these little moments in this movie shows us there is pain in what we’re experiencing, but also love and unity.

There are harsh realities in the world we live in that this movie doesn’t stray away from. But it’s refreshing to find escapism in the lives of so many ordinary people. There is a lot of beauty in life that’s so easy to overlook but cannot be understated.

While life sucks these days, the best we can do is find joy in the little things. There is more harmony in life than we give it credit for and the fact that many of the events in Life in a Day were happening across the globe but at the same time is wonderful.

Because for every thousand reasons to be upset and angry, there are a thousand and one reasons to be happy.

Grade: ★★★★☆ [8/10, B+]

movie review
Jonathan Sim
Jonathan Sim
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Jonathan Sim

Film critic. Lover of Pixar, Harry Potter, Star Wars, Marvel, DC, Back to the Future, and Lord of the Rings.

For business inquiries: [email protected]

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