What Really Happened to Diana From the Movie The Life Before Her Eyes (2007): The Meaning Of The Film, Explanation Of The Ending, Plot Summary.
Year of production: 2007
Director: Vadim Perelman
Actors: Uma Thurman, Evan Rachel Wood, Eva Amurri, Brett Cullen
Tagline: Your life can change in an instant. This moment can last forever.
The film by Vadim Perelman The Life Before Her Eyes tells about the tragedy in an American school, during which one of the students staged a mass shooting. Two girlfriends stood in his way, but he decided to kill only one of them. And they themselves have to decide who will be the victim. The meaning of the film The Life Before Her Eyes is how valuable every lived moment is and how important it is to make the only right decision at a certain moment.
What is the movie about
In the film, the two main characters are best friends Diana and Maureen. The first is a wild beauty who takes everything from life. The second is a devout Catholic, modest and kind. It would seem that there can be nothing in common between the girls, but they begin to communicate and become the closest people to each other.
Evan Rachel Wood as young Diana, Eva Amurri as Maureen. Frame from the film.
It is not in vain that the description of the events of the film begins with the scene of Diana’s conversation with her mother. The woman is dissatisfied with her daughter’s constant misdeeds, she is disappointed in her, but the impudent teenage girl does not want to listen to her mother. Later, a clue will appear as to why the director began the film precisely with this – the confrontation of generations, misunderstanding, disappointment in what life has turned out to be.
Girlfriends trust each other the most cherished secrets. Diana dreams of seeing life in all its colors. She believes that she has not even begun to live, and school is a hated place where she is forced to go at the request of her mother. Maureen dreams of simple female happiness. She says that if she meets a good man and creates a family with him, gives birth to children, then their small town will be enough for her to become happy.
The girls share ideas on where to go on vacation, how to hold a graduation party, and how to arrange dates for each other. And although Maureen is sometimes forced to skip school under the influence of Diana, she still manages to keep her friend in line. She repeatedly invites her to go to church, tells a lot about God and about the miracles that appeared to her during prayer. Despite the seeming indifference on the part of Diana, she still understands how important this is for her friend.
Although Diana hates school, some lectures are interesting to her. For example, she likes to listen to a professor teaching anatomy. He talks a lot about how a person works, constantly repeats that the heart is the strongest muscle in the body.
Lingering after school, the girl once confessed to him how much his lectures meant to her. Then the teacher said: “Birds need wings, pressure and the right angle to fly. You have wings. You just have to change the angle.” These words become iconic at the end of the film.
Frame from the film.
In love, Diana is constantly unlucky. Having met another handsome man, she starts dating him and suddenly finds out that she is pregnant. Of course, the friend immediately loses ground, the girl has to make a difficult choice – to decide on an abortion. After the film there is a moment when friends come to the cemetery of unborn children, and Diana stops at the cross with the name Emma. The episode has a hidden meaning, the viewer encounters this name a little later.
On one of the usual school days, girlfriends run into the toilet for a minute before classes and suddenly hear incomprehensible screams and shots. The sound gets louder, it is already clear that something terrible is happening at school. The door swings open, and their classmate Michael Patrick with a weapon in his hands appears before the girls frozen in horror. Diana, crying, asks not to kill them.
Michael points his gun at one girl, then another. He says, “I will only kill one of you. But who? Who should I kill?” And suddenly Maureen answers him: “If you want to kill only one of us, then kill me.” But the juvenile maniac hesitates. He points the gun at Diana and again asks: “Maybe I should kill you?” After a moment’s pause, looking into Diana’s eyes, he repeats the question: “So which of you should I kill?” At this point, the episode ends, and the content of the film is rewound 15 years ahead.
Frame from the film.
An adult Diana, performed by Uma Thurman, appears before the viewer. The woman is married to a professor of philosophy, she has a daughter, Emma. She teaches at the university, lecturing on art. Her life seems prosperous, measured and completely normal. But this is only at first glance. Diana is constantly eating something, she is tormented, remembering her past. The past tragedy presses especially hard on her on the day of the 15th anniversary of what happened.
She lives in the same city and has to drive past her old school every day. Everything is ready for the celebration there – posters are hung, at the entrance there is a monument to the victims of the terrible massacre of a juvenile psychopath.
Diana deliberately sent her daughter to a Catholic school, but the girl does not want to go there. She does not like to study at all, her character becomes unbearable, she constantly quarrels with her mother. Diana realizes that Emma took a lot from herself – unfortunately, everything is only the worst.
Diana’s husband is educated and intelligent, but seems to have lived his own life for a long time. This becomes apparent when a woman meets him on the street with a young lady. They have fun, eat ice cream, look quite happy. Staring at them, Diana does not notice how she comes out onto the road, where she is hit by a truck. In the hospital, she sees herself covered in blood, but after examination it turns out that the woman did not receive any injuries.
Diana is often called to Emma’s school. The nuns-educators complain. That the girl often runs away. The mother tries to give an explanation for her actions, to justify her. One day she is once again called to come to school. She is informed that the girl has run away again and is nowhere to be found. Later, the policeman said on the phone that only the child’s pink jacket was found near their house. Diana rushes to search. She runs through the forest, it is dark around, the silhouette of a girl flickers ahead. She whispers, “Mom, save me.”
Although the episodes are repeated and intertwined many times over the course of the film, the most final of them is never shown to the end. Only in the last frames it turns out how the meeting between the shooter and the girls in the toilet actually ended.
When Michael Patrick asked for the last time, “So which one of you should I kill?” Diana said, “Kill me!” A shot rang out, and Diana fell to the floor with a bullet through her stomach. Maureen, screaming, looks at her dead friend. The shooter comes out of the closet.
The meaning of the ending of the film “Moments of a Life” may not be clear at first, but upon careful analysis of the film, everything will become clear. Literally, it should be translated as “Life before her eyes.”
It becomes clear that after Michael’s question about which of them should die, Diana is looking forward to her future life 15 years ahead. And what she sees disappoints her.
Diana (Uma Thurman) and her husband (Brett Cullen). Frame from the film.
The woman understands that she failed to build a normal family, raise a daughter, and arrange a career. Her husband, although seemingly respectable, is cheating on her with a young student, her daughter grows up to be just as reckless and defiant as she herself once was.
At work, her lectures, her explanations are not needed by anyone. Students simply sit out time, not wanting to learn anything and understand nothing. Diana sees that her life has failed. And at the last moment she decides that the kind, smart and decent Maureen will do it much better. Then, to Michael’s question, she replies decisively in the finale: “Kill me.”
The meaning of the film
Uma Thurman was able to perfectly convey the mood of her heroine. This is a woman who has experienced great pain, unable to cope with it over the years. In the film The Life Before Her Eyes there are many symbols that complement its meaning. These are the words of the teacher that “the heart is the strongest muscle of a person”, and flowers after the rain that break or stubbornly “raise their heads”, and crosses with the names of children who were never born.
After explaining the plot, it becomes clear that Emma is the daughter not born to Diana. She never existed, she is a figment of a woman’s fantasy. The heart is not just a muscle, but what makes us all human.
Gabrielle Brennan as Emma. Frame from the film.
What makes you suffer, love, give your interpretation to all events in life. Flowers in the rain – this is the essence of life itself. She breaks someone, and someone stubbornly rises and continues on her way.
The director leaves the explanation of the ending behind the scenes. But an attentive viewer will understand what the authors of this story really intended. Those who continue to doubt should look into the book by Laura Kasischka “All life before your eyes”, on which the film was made. In it, the last sentence sounds like this: “Diana saw everyone from above, and even life that could be …”.