Life Itself: it is true that every film (or book, music, or most artwork, for that matter) aim to incite an emotional response (or many); it’s those that do so ineptly, inelegantly or too overtly are the ones labeled “manipulative”. Dan Fogelman’s work is one of those, and annoyingly meta-referential to boot. The whole turns out to be heavy-handed, shallow, self-important. The performances are fine, since it’s a good and smart cast, doing what is possible considering the material and stilted, pretentious dialogue. Oscar Isaac is given the showiest role; Olivia Wilde and Laia Casta are relegated to look lovely, justifying their stands as love interests. The film looks very polished, with a good selection of locations, shot cleanly but somewhat dully by cinematographer Brett Pawlak.