Nine Lives
Theatrical release poster
Directed byRodrigo García
Written byRodrigo García
Produced byJulie Lynn
StarringSissy Spacek
Glenn Close
Holly Hunter
Lisa Gay Hamilton
Kathy Baker
Amanda Seyfried
Amy Brenneman
Robin Wright Penn
Aidan Quinn
K Callan
Dakota Fanning
Ian McShane
Mary Kay Place
Molly Parker
Sydney Tamiia Poitier
Elpidia Carrillo
Jason Isaacs
Miguel Sandoval
Joe Mantegna
CinematographyXavier Pérez Grobet
Edited byAndrea Folprecht
Music byEd Shearmur
Distributed byMagnolia Pictures
Release date
  • October 14, 2005 (2005-10-14)
Running time
115 minutes
CountryUnited States
Box office$1,591,523[2]

Nine Lives is a 2005 American drama film written and directed by Rodrigo García. The screenplay, an example of hyperlink cinema, relates nine short, loosely intertwined tales with nine different women at their cores. Their themes include parent-child relationships, fractured love, adultery, illness, and death. Similar to García's previous work, Things You Can Tell Just by Looking at Her, it is a series of overlapping vignettes, each one running about the same length and told in a single, unbroken take, featuring an ensemble cast.


The story centers on nine stories, each revolving around different women. Imprisoned Sandra has an emotional breakdown when the broken telephone in her cubicle prevents her from communicating with her daughter on visiting day. Diana and Damian, two former flames now married to others, unexpectedly have a poignant reunion in the aisle of the local supermarket. Holly returns home to confront her sexually abusive stepfather and dissolves into gun-waving hysteria. Sonia and Martin, a feuding married couple, have an emotional meltdown while visiting their friends Lisa and Damian in their new apartment. Teenaged Samantha is torn between her non-communicative parents Ruth and Larry, each of whom questions her about everything the other one has to say. Ruth, who is the primary caretaker for her wheelchair-using husband, becomes increasingly guilt-ridden during a tryst with drunken widower Henry in a hotel.

Meanwhile, divorcée Lorna must cope with her ex-husband Andrew's sexual desire for her during his second wife's funeral. Camille is facing breast cancer surgery and uses her waiting time to lash out at her quietly supportive husband Richard. Maggie discusses life with her daughter Maria during a picnic in the cemetery and realizes how much she needs the little girl's loving comfort.


The Nine Women

Supporting players


The film premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in January 2005 and was shown at the Los Angeles Film Festival and the Locarno Film Festival, where it won the Golden Leopard for Best Film and the entire cast was awarded the Bronze Leopard for Best Actress, before going into limited release in the US in October. It opened on seven screens and earned $28,387 in its opening weekend. It eventually grossed $478,830 in the US and $1,112,693 in foreign markets for a total worldwide box office of $1,591,523.[2]


Review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes reports a score of 76% from 86 critics. The critical consensus reads, "Nine Lives is bolstered by a strong cast and features many insightful glimpses into the lives of women".[3] Metacritic gave score a film of 80 based on 25 reviews, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[4]

Stephen Holden of The New York Times described it as "a film that may be the closest movies have come to the cinematic equivalent of a collection of Chekhov short stories. The film's reward for intense concentration is a feeling of deep empathy and connection. For once, you don't harbor the uneasy suspicion of having been emotionally manipulated ... Mr. García has made a film that could be described as radically realistic ... In its subtle, understated performances, the actors vanish into characters who behave like ordinary people observed through one-way glass."[5]

Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times said, "Rodrigo Garcia ... the son of the novelist Gabriel Garcia Marquez ... has the same love for his characters, and although his stories are all (except for one) realistic, he shares his father's appreciation for the ways lives interweave and we touch each other even if we are strangers. A movie like this, with the appearance of new characters and situations, focuses us; we watch more intently, because it is important what happens."[6]

Ruthe Stein of the San Francisco Chronicle called the film "an emotionally satisfying example of a genre whose sketchiness can be off-putting" and added, "García knows how to create juicy roles for actresses, and they return the favor with performances of such concentrated intensity that you cannot take your eyes off them."[7]

Michael Wilmington of the Chicago Tribune awarded the film four out of five stars, describing it as "one of the most interesting and original American films out right now" and "a disturbingly frank look at people and relationships in contemporary Los Angeles and a thrilling dramatic showcase for a brilliant cast." He added, "[The] stories might seem the stuff of soap opera, but Garcia and his superb cast turn most of them into dramatic gold. The peculiar overall structure makes them distinctive as well, the way these little semi-Chekhovian, semi-Andre Dubus pieces play out against each other."[8]

Kevin Thomas of the Los Angeles Times called it "that rare episode film that actually accrues a cumulative power and doesn't merely proceed from one segment to the next. By the time it's over it has become a testament to the inner resilience of women in coping with a critical moment in their lives ... Each segment seems perfectly shaped and timed, not lasting a second too long yet always of sufficient length to be satisfying in itself. García's large ensemble cast is impeccable, and he and his actors have created a film as memorable as it is subtle ... Nine Lives is a sophisticated, elegant-looking film shot in distinctive, wide-ranging L.A. locales, but its real terrain is the human heart, explored with compassion and respect."[9]


See also


  1. ^ " Garcia enjoys acclaim with festival hit". Screen Daily. August 13, 2005. Archived from the original on December 4, 2021. Retrieved October 20, 2022.
  2. ^ a b "Nine Lives". Box Office Mojo. Archived from the original on August 25, 2023. Retrieved October 20, 2022.
  3. ^ "Nine Lives (2005)". Rotten Tomatoes. Archived from the original on May 5, 2019. Retrieved April 4, 2020.
  4. ^ "Nine Lives (2005)". Metacritic. Archived from the original on October 27, 2020. Retrieved April 4, 2020.
  5. ^ Holden, Stephen (October 14, 2005). "Nine Women and Nine Intense Moments in Their Lives". The New York Times. Archived from the original on October 20, 2022. Retrieved October 20, 2022.
  6. ^ Ebert, Roger (October 27, 2005). "A cart o' nine tales". Chicago Sun-Times. Archived from the original on October 20, 2022. Retrieved October 20, 2022 – via
  7. ^ Stein, Ruthe (October 28, 2005). "Vignettes are fertile ground for actresses". San Francisco Chronicle. Archived from the original on October 20, 2022. Retrieved October 20, 2022.
  8. ^ Wilmington, Michael (August 24, 2007). "Movie review: 'Nine Lives'". Chicago Tribune. Archived from the original on July 25, 2011.
  9. ^ Thomas, Kevin (October 14, 2005). "'Nine Lives'". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on February 13, 2006. Retrieved October 20, 2022.
  10. ^ "2005 10th Annual SATELLITE™ Awards". International Press Academy. Archived from the original on September 28, 2011. Retrieved October 20, 2022.
  11. ^ "Alma Awards honor Hispanic artists". The Augusta Chronicle. May 9, 2006. Archived from the original on August 25, 2023. Retrieved October 20, 2022.
  12. ^ "2005 Archives". National Board of Review. Archived from the original on August 14, 2021. Retrieved October 10, 2022.
  13. ^ "2006 Independent Spirit Awards Nominees". @Cinefille. December 1, 2005. Archived from the original on October 20, 2022. Retrieved October 20, 2022.
  14. ^ "Gotham Independent Film Awards 2005". Gotham Independent Film Awards. Archived from the original on February 17, 2015. Retrieved October 20, 2022.