I don't usually write or like reactive comments but in some cases I feel so strongly about previous comments that I can't keep quiet. And there are serious spoilers ahead.
"Copycat"? Last time I checked, "copycat" is used when you imitate slavishly, you just reproduce some previous thing. Now, if someone can't see the differences between "The Sixth Sense," "Elephant," and "The Life Before Her Eyes," maybe that person should watch more movies before writing. Taking another idea and putting a different spin on it has been done forever, since art began, in paintings, music, literature, all arts. That's creativity, when you put something personal on an old story. Now that person might think that we only need one film about a high school shooting and its consequences. We already have "Elephant;" why do we need more? It's not like we keep having shootings, right? I would also be really sad if I thought that the subjects treated in this movie are only interesting to academics.
"Overly-convenient plot points"? Well, it's all her imagination of her own life before dying. You can't expect realism when it all has this dreamy, life passing before your eyes feeling (with a clever twist). Of course the reminders will keep popping up and flooding her consciousness. Besides, since when all films have to be realistic? On one level, the film represents the guilt and remorse experienced by someone who keeps trying to forget a traumatic incident. But sometimes the hardest you try, the more things keep reminding you of it. The film could have interwoven a brief scene imitating a shock of memory, instead it presents it from an external source, which is how you sometimes feel the memory of traumatic events, as something that is coming from outside, something that you can't prevent or avoid, like a radio that tells us what we've been doing the best effort to put out of our minds.
"A LOT of contrived pathos"? It's about a person dying!!!!!
"An exploitation of columbine"? See comment above about "coypcat."
"Metaphor-laden"? Amazingly, it's only the professional critics who are invoking this one. I really don't understand critics anymore. It's true that speaking plainly has its advantages. But since when do all films have to follow the same rules? Some artists thrive using metaphors. Let them use them! Or maybe they actually are annoyed because they understand the metaphors and we all know that the more unintelligible a film is, the better. Especially if we DO think that we understand them, because that means that we're part of the intelligent elite that can appreciate those films.
"Confusing" and "tiring flashback-flash forward method"? The film follows the pathway of memory, which goes through associations (metonymies, metaphors, repetitions, similarities) and not chronology. Now, wouldn't it be so much less hard if all the past were first and the future later? I guess we're too intelligent so we're above the metaphors but putting pieces in the right order is haaard!
Finally, the jewel: "An overwrought and patently offensive anti-abortion drama"? Clearly, this is coming from a man (Lou Lumenick, New York Post). And he might not have any friends that have had abortions. I'm pro-choice but I know that all of my friends who did it had feelings of remorse (not guilt, although that could be a component). What do you think? That a woman just pretends that it never happened, that she never questions if she could have done something differently. That doesn't mean you're making an anti-abortion diatribe. It's just dealing with a hard, traumatic memory. I'm so sorry that this critic thinks that talking about those feelings implies a moral choice. Talk about manicheism.
I'm not saying that the film is flawless. Maybe it is too precious, even though it has a good excuse for it. It's a collection of idealized moments of past and future passing through someone's imagination. You could certainly find fault in the way that Evan Rachel Wood is sexualized; I mean, the camera really loves her and it's clearly from a male perspective. Others might be able to live with such obvious exponent of "the male gaze."