The film, directed by Oscar winner Kevin McDonald and produced by multiple Oscar nominee Ridley Scott is stitched together from user-generated content and depicts one day of life on Earth from the perspective of 25 people living on it.
All of the events shown in the movie take place in one 24-hour period on July 24, 2010. According to an article in National Geographic, this particular date was chosen because it was after the World Cup, but before the holidays. More than 80,000 videos of that day containing 4,500 hours of footage were uploaded to YouTube. Every single submission was watched and considered for inclusion. After seven months, McDonald and his crew of editors, researchers, and viewers had managed to turn over 187 days worth of footage into one 90-minute movie.
AMC's FilmCritic.com reviewer Anthony Benigno called the footage "quite beautiful (the segment on birth), funny (an old English couple renewing their vows) and moving (an astonishing, fly-on-the-wall scene of a young man coming out to his family)." However, Benigno also had the following to say:
It's an interesting conceit, and there's definitely something to be said that Life In a Day is pretty much the first social-media movie ever made. [...] But Life In a Day, fitfully interesting as it is, feels more like an extended, sometimes assaultive advertisement for YouTube than a proper documentary.
The New York Times described the movie as "something resembling a sentimental credit-card commercial stretched to feature length."
A review of the film, written by the Associated Press, suggested that some of the clips may have been staged and that the overall message -- we are not so different you and I -- is "pretty obvious," although their reviewer was impressed by the "sophistication and artistry" of some of the footage.
The overall tone of the film is largely positive. The filmmakers addressed this upbeat feeling onstage at the Sundance Film Festival and said that the lighthearted mood is not something they engineered. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the film's director and producer said that most of the videos submitted were largely positive.
Check out the "Life In A Day" trailer (below), and visit YouTube to watch the full-length film.