Movie Review: Life in a Year
“Life in a Year,” starring Jaden Smith and Cara Delevinge, is a romantic coming-of-age story following two teens as they fall in love. At a Big Sean concert, 17-year-old Daryn (Jaden Smith) meets the love of his life, Isabelle (Cara Delevinge). Over two months, the duo goes on several dates. As the summer nears its end, Daryn decides he would like to officially ask out Isabelle. Despite their obvious chemistry Isabelle says that she can’t be with Daryn. Eventually, he finds out that she is suffering from ovarian cancer and has less than a year to live. Isabelle expects him to back off after disclosing this information, however, much to her surprise, he decides that the love he feels for her is much greater than his fears. Over the year he meticulously plans a schedule to help Isabelle live a full life in a year. Together they experience their first true loves, many of life’s milestones, and push each other to face their fears.
While dealing with the impending death of his girlfriend Daryn also faces challenges in his home life and a difficult relationship with his father. In fear of his child failing in life, Daryn’s father Xavier (Cuba Gooding Jr.) sets high expectations. He tells his son “greatness requires sacrifice.” Unfortunately, this sacrifice is Daryn’s happiness. Xavier disapproves of Daryn’s relationship with Isabelle and any other activities that may distract him from his studies. As Daryn pushes Isabelle to live her life to the fullest she, in turn, pushes him to live his life for himself, rather than the life his father or anyone else has planned out for him.
Over the course of the movie, viewers see strong friendships with Sammy (JT Neal) and Kiran (Stony Blyden), who help Daryn in his plans to provide Isabelle with a full life in such a short amount of time. Throughout the movie, they are by his side as he plans many of their memorable moments. Daryn’s mother, Catherine (Nia Long), and Isabell’s friend/caregiver, Phil (Chris D’elia) provide a strong support system for the two main characters as their other parental figures have left or let them down. These four characters show how much support is needed for a person to succeed. As things continuously change around them, Daryn and Isabelle can count on their support system to be there to pick them up.
Overall, the movie was emotional and inspiring. From the excitement of the memories, Daryn and Isabelle made together to the difficult scenes displaying Isabelle’s battle with ovarian cancer, viewers will be drawn into this beautiful story. After watching the movie, the message viewers can get from it is to live life to the fullest and for yourself because you never know what will happen. Thanks to Daryn, Isabelle experienced love and completed several life milestones that she otherwise wouldn’t have. And because of Isabelle, Daryn decided to go against what his father wished for his life so that he could live his life for himself, a life that he would be proud of.
I would highly recommend this movie because unlike other movies with a similar theme, I didn’t feel sad after watching it. The movie gave me hope that with determination and perseverance I can achieve anything despite the obstacles in life. Happiness isn’t about the positive things in your life but instead how you choose to pay attention to them over the negative. Daryn and Isabelle had a beautiful relationship, even though at no point was it easy. This is a film that everyone can learn from and enjoy.