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Normal Life is a 1996 American crime drama film based on the real lives of husband and wife bank robbers, Jeffrey and Jill Erickson.[1][2] The film stars Ashley Judd and Luke Perry and was directed by John McNaughton.

Normal Life
Normal Life.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byJohn McNaughton
Produced byRichard Maynard
John Saviano
Written byPeg Haller
Bob Schneider
Music byRobert McNaughton,
Ken Hale
CinematographyJean de Segonzac
Edited byElena Maganini
Distributed byFine Line Features
Release date
  • October 25, 1996 (1996-10-25)
Running time
101 minutes
CountryUnited States
Box office$22,891



Chris (Luke Perry), a young police officer meets the attractive and sexy Pamela (Ashley Judd) and immediately falls in love with her. Even her drug and alcohol problems cannot affect his mad love for her and they decide to marry. As the relationship continues, more problems arise. Their passionate love is accompanied by destructive fights and Pam's emotional problems start to surface. She shows no respect for Chris’ family members who are very important to him. Pam's also manipulative and exploits Chris’ love for her, leaving him to do all the chores and making him buy her expensive things until they are on the brink of bankruptcy.

Trouble escalates when Chris loses his job after trouble with a fellow officer. To finance Pam's lifestyle, Chris decides to earn a living by robbing banks. Pam's fascinated with his bank heists and begs him to tag along. After having finally robbed enough banks to afford a house of their own, Chris decides to stop a life of crime, much to Pam's chagrin. Pam soon leaves Chris who quickly finds himself unable to live without her. Chris then agrees to start robbing banks again, which proves to be fatal for the duo.



Normal Life holds a 70% "fresh" rating on the review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, based on 10 reviews.[3] Peter Sobczynski writes in his article "A Good Ashley Judd Film? Believe It or Not!": "[...] her single greatest performance-indeed, one of the strongest bits of film acting that you are ever likely to see-was in what probably remains the most obscure and least-seen film of her career, John McNaughton's 1996 masterpiece Normal Life."[4]

James Berardinelli in his article on "Luke Perry, giving the most convincing performance of his career to date, makes it clear how desperately, hopelessly smitten Chris is by his wild, troubled wife." And finally: "By depicting the sham of 'normality,' Normal Life reminds us how fictitious and unattainable the 'American dream' can be."[5]


  1. ^ Schwartz, Ronald (2005). Neo-noir: The New Film Noir Style from Psycho to Collateral. Scarecrow Press. p. 125. ISBN 0-8108-5676-X.
  2. ^ "3 Dead in Shooting at Chicago Courthouse". The New York Times. July 21, 1992. Retrieved May 20, 2010.
  3. ^ "Normal Life," Rotten Tomatoes website. Accessed Jan. 17, 2017.
  4. ^ Sobczynski, Peter (2005-02-18). "DVD Reviews for 2/18: A Good Ashley Judd Film? Believe It or Not!".
  5. ^ James, Berardinelli. "Normal Life: A Film Review by James Berardinelli".

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