10 years ago, YouTube teamed with producer Ridley Scott to produce the documentary Life in a Day, which compiled clips sent in by people all around the globe, recording what was occurring in their lives on July 24, 2010. Producing a sequel ten years later only makes sense, even without the global pandemic that rocked the world on the selected date, July 25, 2020. I doubt anybody involved would have expected the world to have changed that much in the intervening decade, but they certainly stumbled ass-backward into a hell of an interesting premise.

Rather than having an explicit narrative, Life in a Day (which hasn't quite committed enough to the title Life in a Day 2020, so I'll be using that title solely to refer to the new film from here on) has what I would call movements, taking us from sunrise to sunset and linking footage as vignettes on themes like birth, love, grief, prayer, technology. and so on and so forth. The film is not specifically a document of the COVID-19 pandemic, and yet how could it not be? The footage compiled from 324,000 videos sent from 192 countries shows how this situation has touched each of our lives in different yet relatable ways, highlighting even further the themes of human interconnectedness that the original film explored.

Life in a Day has really stripped me of most of the tools I use to approach reviewing a movie. There's not exactly a point to critiquing the cinematographical skills of a preteen girl milking a goat. Or the sound design captured by a parent filming their adorable child and that adorable child's adorable rat on their smartphone. And between you and me, the narrative thrust of life itself leaves something to be desired.

By its nature, Life in a Day is almost entirely a work of editing. And I suppose music composition, though the score mostly just captures YouTube's usual sleek and shiny motif of "it's the future and I have a marimba." Luckily, the editing is quite excellent. Obviously you never feel like the film is actually telling you a "story," but that's because it isn't. However, the pace never flags as you are thrust from person to person to place to place. As anyone who has spent time traveling in another country will know, the mundanities of day to day life are imbued with a magical quality just by dint of taking place in somewhere you've never been, and Life in a Day is constantly refreshing itself with new perspectives.

Perhaps the most interesting moments come in the form of clips catching up with people who appeared in the original documentary 10 years ago. Other than the linking factor of the pandemic, that meta factor is the hook this entry has over the original. They don't indulge in this trick too often, but these moments in particular is an alternately gut-wrenching and exhilarating exercise in watching how the passage time can alter a single life.

Would I recommend Life in a Day to a pandemic-exhausted audience? Well, first of all that depends on your tolerance with any form of media that directly interacts with the presence of COVID-19, which as we all know can vary from day to day or even minute to minute. But if you think you can stomach it without much anxiety, I would recommend it for anyone who is in the mood for a tone poem rather than a strict documentary. Life in a Day is a stew soaked in all the flavors of life that the world has to offer, and it's a supremely pleasant (sometimes devastating, but always sneaking back toward optimistic every chance it gets) jaunt through the infinite ways the human experience can be, well, experienced.

Brennan Klein is a millennial who knows way more about 80's slasher movies than he has any right to. You can find his other reviews on his blog Popcorn Culture. Follow him on Twitter, if you feel like it.