Update2: New poster is here.
Update: I was asked to take down this poster. I’m not sure what happened. Perhaps they sent out the wrong version? Perhaps it shouldn’t have been released yet? Anyway, this is a rare enough occurrence that I’m happy to oblige the marketing team. I’ll update as soon as a new poster is released.
On the good side, this poster does a better job of making Uma Thurman and Evan Rachel Wood look like the same person at different ages (which they are in the movie) than I would have expected. It is also very flowery.
On the other hand, it’s VERY Flowery.
I think the problem here is that the movie’s premise is impossible to distill in a few simple lines or in a clear image. I quote, from the publicity materials:
Based on the best-selling novel by Laura Kasischke, Life Before Her Eyes is a dramatic thriller about Diana (Oscar-nominee Uma Thurman), a suburban wife and mother who begins to question her seemingly perfect life–and perhaps her sanity–on the 15th anniversary of a tragic high school shooting that took the life of her best friend. In flashbacks, Diana is a vibrant high schooler (played by Evan Rachel Wood of THIRTEEN and THE UPSIDE OF ANGER) who, with her shy best friend Maureen, plot typical teenage strategies–cutting class, fantasizing about boys–and vow to leave their sleepy suburb at the first opportunity. The older Diana, however, is haunted by the increasingly strained relationship she had with Maureen as day of the school shooting approached. These memories disrupt the idyllic life she’s now leading with her professor husband Paul and their young daughter Emma. As older Diana’s life begins to unravel and younger Diana gets closer and closer to the fatal day, a deeper mystery slowly unravels.
Interesting, but you can’t really put that in a poster. So what do you do? You use your well known actresses to fill most of the available space. And then you fill the rest of the image with things that evoke the basic tone of the film, or that help to build a certain visual identity. Or at least that is what you do if you are going for the safe choice.
But in this case the execution of this strategy, which doesn’t tend to lead to great posters in the best cases, leaves much to be desired. I’m not sure exactly what they are trying to do with all the flowers. The only thing they evoke for me is a sort of lightness that seems to be at odds with what I saw in the trailer and with the description I pasted above.
The flowers also appear in the trailer, although no quite as prominently, and they are used more wisely there. In here they are overused and the overall visual effect is overwhelming and obnoxious.
Maybe if I see the film I will understand it better. But posters tend to be more effective if they work before you actually go to see the film.