REVIEW: ‘My Wonderful Life’ Presents Struggle Without Resolution

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My Wonderful Life - But Why Tho

My Wonderful Life is a Netflix Polish Drama. Meet Joanne. A school teacher, married to the school’s headmaster, mother of two sons, one of whom is grown with a wife and child but is still living at home, who takes care of her mother who is struggling with Alsymers, while she is having an affair to escape the soul-crushing world that her daily life often is.

Life is hard. This is something that the vast majority of us can agree on. How we deal with these hardships is one of the key defining aspects of the human experience. For Joanne, her daily struggles with ungrateful students, a demanding family, and a loveless marriage make up the bulk of her hardships. These unending trials that Joanne must wade through day to day are delivered in a way that emphasizes how soul-crushing life can be. She isn’t happy at home or work and the only time she can find her happiness is when she is with her lover. But does that justify Joanne’s choices in My Wonderful Life?

How the viewer ultimately feels about this movie will largely come down to that final question. With the focus of the tale’s narrative being exclusively on Jo, we are naturally inclined to see things in a way that makes us understand her choices better than those around her. However, whether or not her actions are justifiable, or even defendable is up to the viewer’s discretion. Especially given how non-commital My Wonderful Life is when it comes to an ending.

While the complex situation this movie brings together may be too murky to blame anyone for what ultimately unfolds, the story doesn’t give any form of resolution whatsoever. It feels like the film doesn’t know what to say about its story, so rather than say anything, it simply ends. This ending is awkward and abrupt, leaving the audience with no sense of the narrative that has played out before them.

Now you might be saying that could be the point. That a chapter of a human’s life doesn’t simply end. That a pretty bow can’t be tied at a given point so the credits can roll. And you’d be right. But this is cinema, and while I appreciate the desire to show that a period in life isn’t isolated, it would serve the film much better if the film gave some hint as to where the narrative will go after the credits roll.

While the narrative ultimately fails for me in the end, this isn’t due to any fault on the part of the acting. The many characters in this movie feel authentic. Each actor plays their part well, even when their characters are uncomfortable and awkward. These solid moment-to-moment performances are helped further by some strong camera work. The viewer is never allowed a comfortable distance from the drama as it unfolds. Much like the tiny apartment Jo shares with three generations of her family, the cinematography makes the viewer experience the cramped, claustrophobic nature of Jo’s life.

My Wonderful Life delivers a series of well-shot and acted moments that never come together in the end.

My Wonderful Life is streaming now on Netflix.


My Wonderful Life
  • 7.5/10
    Rating - 7.5/10
7.5/10

TL;DR

My Wonderful Life delivers a series of well-shot and acted moments that never come together in the end.