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Life in a Day Review

  • Release Date: Jul 29, 2011
  • Rated: Disturbing violent images, language and sexual reference
  • Runtime: 1 hr. 35 min.
  • Genres: Documentary
  • Director:Kevin Macdonald

Other Critics provided by

Critics scores range from 0 to 100, with higher scores indicating more favorable reviews.

  • 3.0

    out of 100

    Mixed or average reviews
    based on a weighted average of all
    critic review scores.

  • 60

    out of 100

    Wall Street Journal Joe Morgenstern

    Does the film add up to something more than a stunt? Maybe not. I was captivated by the several hours I recently saw of Christian Marclay's 24-hour-long "The Clock," a video mashup in which thousands of clips from hundred of movies contain watches and clocks telling the same time that spectators can read on their wrists. Life in a Day doesn't aspire to such intricacy, but it's fascinating all the same, an electronic update of Alexander Pope's maxim that the proper study of mankind is man.

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  • 80

    out of 100

    The Hollywood Reporter Kirk Honeycutt

    Life in a Day is an experimental project driven by the Internet at its best, where connectivity among the planet's population has become a reality.

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For Families provided by Common Sense Media

OK for kids 12+

Insightful docu features thousands of YouTube clips.

What Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that since this documentary was culled from thousands of hours of YouTube footage submitted by regular people from all over the world, it depicts everything from births to deaths, love to loss, morning to night -- some of which may be disturbing to younger viewers. There's a particularly grisly scene of a cow being slaughtered (viewers see it being shot in the head with an air gun and then having its throat slit open) and some quick glimpses of the Love Parade in Germany, where several people were crushed to death (footage shows EMTs rushing to help people who appear dead or unconscious). An elderly couple renews their vows in a ceremony that includes promises of more sex and other innuendo. The language, frequently included in subtitles, includes "bulls--t," "damn," "prick," and more. A young gay man comes out to his grandmother over the phone.

  • Families can talk about what the documentary demonstrates about the universality of humankind. How are we alike, no matter where we live in the world? How are we different?
  • How did technology impact the making of this documentary? Could it have been made in the pre-digital age?
  • What did you learn about various cultures? Did anything surprise you about the way people in other parts of the world go about their day?
  • What would you include in a video of a typical day in your own life?

The good stuff
  • message true3

    Messages: The movie's overwhelming message is that in a single day, most humans experience more similarities than differences -- we wake up, eat, work, play, love, and go to sleep. Because it was shot by hundreds of filmmakers from around the world, there's a universality to the movie that demonstrates how we're all global siblings going about our day; it's just the culture that changes.

  • rolemodels true0

    Role models: Since the movie doesn't follow any characters for much time, it's hard to identify any role models. A widower father makes a heartfelt statement about how at least his family is alive, even if they have very little shelter, food, or money. A couple renews their vows after 50 years of marriage. But on the other hand, one man is shown shoplifting a snack from a convenience store.

What to watch for
  • violence false3

    Violence: Disturbing images include people living in poverty (sleeping on floors, children with no shoes living 14 to a single room); coverage of the deadly Love Parade in Germany that resulted in trampling (viewers see emergency medical technicians working on a person prostate on the floor and transferring other injured or possibly dead people); a few people who carry weapons in their pockets; and the grisly, bloody sight of a cow being slaughtered (first shot in the head with an air gun, then nearly decapitated by a butcher).

  • sex false2

    Sex: In the "What Do You Love?" segment, there are shots of couples holding hands, hugging, and kissing and a woman in a bra sitting with her back to the camera. During an anniversary ceremony, the priest reads vows written by the groom that jokingly ask whether the bride is willing to perform oral sex more often, plus other sexual innuendo.

  • language false3

    Language: Most of the language is via subtitles; spoken words include "bulls--t," "s--t," "ass," "damn," "goddamn," "prick," and the like.

  • consumerism false1

    Consumerism: During the "What Do You Carry Around?" section, people pull out everything from a purse containing all Marc Jacobs accessories to a Lamborghini keychain and car.

  • drugsalcoholtobacco false2

    Drinking, drugs and smoking: A few people around the world are shown drinking (in fact, the opening shot is of a drunk-looking man confirming that the date is July 24, 2010). One man (whose face isn't shown) confesses to having syringes in his pockets.