New Life (AU - PG/UK - PG/US - PG)

In a Word: Sweet

New Life

Ava and Ben. Ben and Ava. New Life tells the story of an ordinary couple who meet as children at the age of seven (he, a Brit; she, an American) and grow up together as best friends, eventually becaming sweethearts, marrying and settling down in a life together.

But life is not always straightforward - and Ben and Ava must experience some deep valleys - the loss of a child and cancer among them - as well as the mountaintop experiences life throws at them along the way.

A film about friendship, love and loss, New Life is a small scale film about the challenges life can bring and how we navigate our way through them. And it's a story of how no matter what life brings, it's always still to be lived.

While it may seem slowly paced in parts, one can only assume that's a deliberate move by director Drew Waters - not only, in a sense, does it illustrate the ordinariness of the lives involved, it also extends an invitation to view the lives portrayed as a complete package, a string of events throughout a lifetime, rather than a single high or low.

In that sense this is not a film to wow, but rather the slow unfolding of a story. It's biggest failing is that it doesn't delve too deep at any point but tends rather to float on the surface in its portrayal of life's up and downs - it would have benefitted from a closer zoom at times.

New Life is well cast -  Jonathan Patrick Moore plays Ben, Erin Bethea plays Ava and Kris Lemche appears as Ben's friend Michael and Kelsey Formost as Ava's friend Monique Marceau. There's also a couple of faces you might recognise - veteran Terry O'Quinn (remember Dr John Lock on Lost?) as Dr James Sumrall and Bill Cobbs as neighbour Charles.

Those looking for a film about faith are likely to be disappointed - the faith of the characters very much plays a backward part here with only a couple of overt references to it.

This is not a film that's going to change your life; it's a simply told and, at times, poignant tale about the highs and lows of life here on planet Earth.