A Better Life has more to offer than good intentions: it’s sincere and credible, which is more than I can say about an awful lot of movies. Yet something about it kept me at arm’s length: I felt the filmmakers’ presence instead of losing myself in the story. Is that because, like director Chris Weitz, I am not part of the world he’s depicting but an outsider looking in? Or is it because the trajectory of this melancholy film is so predictable?
Although Eric Eason wrote the screenplay, from a story by Roger L. Simon, the inspiration seems to be Vittorio De Sica’s timeless masterpiece—
Get the latest headlines from Leonard Maltin delivered to your inbox every day.