Box art for An Unfinished Life

An Unfinished Life

drama


From the acclaimed director of CASANOVA, CHOCOLAT, and THE CIDER HOUSE RULES ... Academy Award® winners Robert Redford and Morgan Freeman star in this powerful story of risk and redemption.

Rotten Tomatoes® scores

  • Critic Score
    53%
  • Audience Score
    68%

common sense

PAUSE for kids age 13
Consumerism
0 out of 5
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
3 out of 5
Language
3 out of 5
Positive messages
0 out of 5
Sex
3 out of 5
Violence
3 out of 5

Sentimental drama; not likely to interest kids.

what parents need to know

Parents need to know that this drama concerns stressful relations among a young widowed mother, her angry father-in-law, and her 11-year-old daughter: this means that the film includes frequent scenes of family tension. This strain begins with an accidental death of the girl's father, not shown on screen but repeatedly discussed. That said, these scenes are not explosive, but taut and delicately handled. Characters argue, curse, smoke, and drink briefly. One male character abuses his girlfriend, in images that are occasionally abrupt and disturbing, and he is eventually beaten for his transgressions. A character bears scars from a bear attack (and discusses their appearance with the 12-year-old girl), and later in the film, a bear attacks the grandfather, frightening the granddaughter, who reacts and saves him.

what families can talk about

  • Families can talk about the theme of forgiveness. The characters are split between those who feel guilty, angry, and unforgiving (Jean and Einar, her father-in-law), and those more open to forgiveness (the girl, Griff and Mitch, the bear's victim): how do all the characters come to appreciate the difficulties endured by the others, and so begin to understand their responses? How does the bear figure as a metaphor for "accidents" and for forgiveness? How might Einar or Jean have found other ways to express their grief and sense of guilt?

movie reviews from Rotten Tomatoes®

Top Critic Reviews

Fresh: A wistful smalltown drama, this is predictable and pleasant, with enjoyable performances. It suffers from heavy-handed symbolism, but as an undemanding mainstream movie it has its simple pleasures.

- Anna Smith, Empire Magazine, Friday, April 16, 2010

Fresh: An Unfinished Life takes us on the journey from the stifling prison of resentment to the freedom and healing of reconciliation. It's a trip worth taking.

- Carolyn Arends, Christianity Today, Thursday, June 24, 2010

Fresh: An Unfinished Life isn't going to win any prizes for originality, yet despite the derivative feel - and some hokey melodrama - it's still a solidly entertaining film.

- David Edwards, Daily Mirror [UK], Thursday, June 24, 2010

Audience Reviews

3 stars

Mitch Bradley: I know people everywhere that thought they got dealt a bad hand. "Every secret takes on a life of its own." An Unfinished Life isn't the most original thing you'll ever see, but it does do a lot of things well. It's well acted, especially by screen legends Morgan Freeman and Robert Redford. The Wyoming scenery is beautifully shot and the cinematography is amazing. So those are the things I really loved about the film. For the things I didn't now. Jennifer Lopez is miss cast if you ask me. She doesn't fit the role and is a mediocre, if sexy, actress at best. The other thing I didn't really care for is how the story took the easy way out to man times. There seemed to be some really interesting directions the film could have gone, but they were skipped every time for a more predictable option. Overall I still enjoyed the film as a whole. There were some truly beautiful moments and some occasionally funny ones. This isn't a movie that is overly important, nor will it ever be a classic; but what it is, is a solid piece of filmmaking. Could it have been better? Sure, but as it is; it isn't too bad.

- blkbomb, Tuesday, May 8, 2012

3 stars

Mitch Bradley: I know people everywhere that thought they got dealt a bad hand. "Every secret takes on a life of its own." An Unfinished Life isn't the most original thing you'll ever see, but it does do a lot of things well. It's well acted, especially by screen legends Morgan Freeman and Robert Redford. The Wyoming scenery is beautifully shot and the cinematography is amazing. So those are the things I really loved about the film. For the things I didn't now. Jennifer Lopez is miss cast if you ask me. She doesn't fit the role and is a mediocre, if sexy, actress at best. The other thing I didn't really care for is how the story took the easy way out to man times. There seemed to be some really interesting directions the film could have gone, but they were skipped every time for a more predictable option. Overall I still enjoyed the film as a whole. There were some truly beautiful moments and some occasionally funny ones. This isn't a movie that is overly important, nor will it ever be a classic; but what it is, is a solid piece of filmmaking. Could it have been better? Sure, but as it is; it isn't too bad.

- blkbomb, Tuesday, May 8, 2012

3 stars

A good drama that indicates the significance of forgiveness, and how it can be tough than vengeance sometimes. Einar (Robert Redford) is the father-in-law of Jean (Jennifer Lopez) whose husband dies in a car accident while she was driving. She leaves her husband's house soon after the incident, but returns years later with her daughter when she needs a hiding place. Einar finds it difficult to forgive her, but he's fond of his grand-daughter. The movie displays how each character deal with their pain. Einar's friend Mitch's (Morgan Freeman) parallel track, also emphasizing the power of forgiveness, is equally good. While it's a bit slow, it's not boring. The humor at regular intervals also makes it lively. Morgan Freeman gives an incredible performance as usual, while Robert Redford and Jennifer Lopez also live their character amazingly and give a natural performance. The girl playing Jean's daughter is also terrific. Check it out if you wanna see a good family drama displaying the aspects of healing, redemption and forgiveness; and if you've patience.

- imrealgod, Thursday, January 20, 2011