Life in a Day

Review No. 400


The Bottom Line: A day in the life of Life in a Day is a day in a life worth living. If that makes any sense.

Directed by: Kevin Macdonald and several co-directors

Distributed by National Geographic Films on July 24, 2011. Produced in English, Italian, Japanese, German, Spanish, Indonesian, Balinese, Portuguese, Ukrainian, Vietnamese, Creole, Catalan, Dutch, Bengali, Masai, Hindi, Arabic, Quechua, and Russian, by the United States and the United Kingdom. Runs 95 mins. Rated PG-13 by the MPAA for disturbing violent images, language and a sexual reference.

Life in a Day was watched on January 25, 2013.

“An eye for an eye makes the world blind.” –Mohandas Karamdach Gandhi

Life in a Day takes just an hour and a half to inform us of how easily we can take an entire lifetime for granted. Quite frankly, it’s shocking. The film was heavily truncated. Funded by National Geographic, this was initially an arbitrary film project. People, we want you to film a day in your life. How about…July 24, 2010? The number of people who accepted this seemingly basic offer is almost unfathomable. NG collected 80,000 submissions(!) from 192 countries(!), adding up to a grand total of 4,500 hours(!) of life in a day.

When I say the word “human,” countless thoughts rush to your mind in a split second, only less than 0.1% of them consciously known. I’d estimate that at least nine out of ten selected demographics shot off the word “human” are thoroughly recognized by Life in a Day. Rich and poor. Men and women. Parents and children. Newborns and senior citizens. Boys and girls. Obese and starving. Mansion-confined and homeless. Academic and apathetic. Artistic and athletic. I could go on. And on.

Life in a Day is a strong pondering. It’s easier to look at it from a rather accepting mind. I entered very skeptically, expecting an overlong YouTube video. (Technically it is—the pacing does wear thin with incoherent videos, and the website’s logo is displayed before the two-minute mark.) But the dogma in my forefinger that pressed “play” didn’t want anything more than a thought-provoking documentary. (Most fortunately, it is that, too.)

The film posed three questions, each one to a variety of answers. My main question is: the final length is only 2.1% of all the footage that was submitted. The documentary took six months, three days to premiere on the internet and at the Sundance Film Festival; it wasn’t until 365 days had passed since the filming day that the film earned an official release in US theaters. I’m beginning to think much of the time in between was devoted to botching the less meaningful addresses, and searching for the cream of the crop. Don’t cha think?

I do, however, slightly envy those who got the opportunity to participate in this project, while I had not a clue of its existence. So in light of this being my 400th review, I will give my own personal responses to the three questions myself (which are so damn boring, they probably would’ve botched anyway):

“What do you love?”
Should I go for the obvious? Ah, why not. Film, writing, and my dogs.

“What do you fear?”
Above all other things, I fear God, snakes, and appendicitis.

“What is in your pocket?”
I should’ve put my cell phone back in my pocket before writing this review. At the moment, I have a few bits of trash in my pocket, from when I was too lazy to go to the trash can. Hey, I’m being honest.

Postscript: If I piqued your interest in Life in a Day, the movie is actually available on National Geographic’s website, free of charge:


Mrs. Doubtfire


8 thoughts on “Life in a Day

  1. “Rich and poor. Men and women. Parents and children. Newborns and senior citizens. Boys and girls. Obese and starving. Mansion-confined and homeless. ACADEMIC AND APATHETIC. Artistic and athletic. I could go on. And on.”

    I love that. I stopped reading and thought about it for a minute.

    I’ve been meaning to see it but another movie always gets my attention. Will try harder this month.

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