Life During Wartime

Synopsis: Separated from her incarcerated husband Bill (Hinds), Trish (Janney) is about to be married again. Bill is a pedophile, so Trish couldn't be more excited to have Harvey (Lerner), a "normal" father figure for her two sons. But when Bill is released from prison and the boys finally meet their future stepdad, the family is forced to decide whether to forgive or to forget. Trish's sister, the virginal, angelic Joy (Henderson), is also haunted by ghosts of lovers past. On leave from her degenerate husband, Allen (Williams), and her job at a New Jersey correctional facility, Joy unwittingly leaves behind a trail of shame and exposed secrets wherever she goes. In one of the film's most stylized sequences, the image of Joy walking the dark streets of Miami in her nightgown maintains her innocence against a backdrop of self-affliction and desire.
Genre: Comedy, Drama
Director(s): Todd Solondz
Production: IFC Films
  3 wins & 8 nominations.
Rotten Tomatoes:
98 min



You okay?


You sure?

Ever since we got here,

you seem a little... upset.

Oh, no, no.

Just a little... dj vu.

They have a lot of vegetarian options here,

you know.

Oh, I know.

And, uh, I'm happy.

Really. Promise.


Well, I, um -

I bought you a little present.

Joy? Joy, what's wrong?

[ Sniffles ]

I -

- What? Is - Is it your period?

- No.

I'm so sorry, Allen.

It's okay.

[ Sobs ]

I'm okay.

[ Gasping ]

[ Sniffles ]

Here, let me open it now.

It's an original Gainsford reproduction.

Late 1 880s.

Oh. Where -Where did you find this?


- Oh, Allen. You did this?

- Look at the side.

Isn't that amazing?

I found it just like that.

- [ Crying ]

- Antique.

What, you don't like it?

[ Sniffling, Crying ]

I'm sorry, Allen.

I didn't mean to.

[ Deep Breath ]

It's nothing.

You sure?

Mm-hmm. Thank you.

You're welcome.

[ Crying ]



Happy anniversary.

Allen. Allen, I really do like it.

I'm sorry. It's just -

You know how you always said

a person should forgive?

Forgive and forget. Yes.

Well, so I thought that

I should try to be more open.


- 'Cause I've been really trying,Joy.

- Mm-hmm.

- No more cocaine.

- Uh-uh.

- No more crack.

- Uh-uh.

- No more crack cocaine.

- Uh-uh.

No more hanging around

doing nothing without a job.


No more sarcastic remarks

or physical attacks aimed at my boss.


No more helping old gang members

with burglaries and armed robberies.


No more getting into fights with strangers,

waking up in the gutter.


Oh,Joy. It's been

like a never-ending struggle.

And I keep fighting it,

but it's just this one thing I can't stop.

- I'm trying awful hard -

- Hello.

- Are you ready to ord -

- [ Allen Sniffles ]

Oh, sorry. Do you need some more time?

No, no. We're ready.

- Yeah.

- Um...

I was wondering if you could

please tell us if you have any specials.


Say again?

I - I was wondering if you could please

tell us if there's any specials, I mean.

What did you say?

I - I, uh -

I was wondering if-

I know who you are.

I'm-I'm sorry. Do I know -

- [ Spits ]

- [Joy Gasps ]

- Fuckin' pervert!

- I'm sorry. I'm so sorry.

What are you wearin' underneath,

motherfuckin' scum?

Miss, he's changed.

He doesn't do that anymore.

We even threw out the phone book.

Really. He's a different person.

His voice is the same. Motherfucker.


You don't still -

[ Voice Quavering ]

Just -Just a little.

On Sundays.

[ Allen Sniffles ]

[ Man, Laughing ]

''What the heck are you doing?''

[ Man, Woman Laughing ]

[ Woman ]


[ Laughing Continues ]

You know -

You know what I like about you?

What? What?

You're so... normal.

[ Sputters ]


It feels so good to be with someone

who isn't... weird.

- Or screwed up.

- [ Laughing ]

Or sicko-pervy.

- [ Sighs ]

- Oh. So, uh -

- Are your kids off at college?

- I wish.

Mine are all out of the house.

Hell, I'm out of the house.

Kicked out, that is.

Oh. Feeling lonely?

Well -

Divorce isn't easy after 3 5 years together.


I haven't even been with a woman

outside of Marj.

I'm not sure I would, uh -

would know what to do.

Harvey. It's okay.

It's okay.

What you're feeling is normal.

I can't - I can't talk about my sex life.

- I can't talk about mine either.

- There's so much I don't understand.

Sometimes it's better not to understand.

My son, Mark- he's a great kid.

You know, he's a little troubled -

just feels a little paranoid.

But he's - he's really a very sweet kid.

I know. Good heart.

Anyway, so he moved down here.

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Todd Solondz

Todd Solondz (born October 15, 1959) is an American independent film screenwriter and director known for his style of dark, thought-provoking, socially conscious satire. Solondz has been critically acclaimed for his examination of the "dark underbelly of middle class American suburbia," a reflection of his own background in New Jersey.[1] His work includes Welcome to the Dollhouse (1995), Happiness (1998), Storytelling (2001), Palindromes (2004), Life During Wartime (2009), and Dark Horse (2012). more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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