Movie Review: Term Life

movie poster for the film, "Term Life," featuring a father looking to take care of his daughter with a term life insurance policy before his life comes to a screeching halt

Photo Credit: IMDB

It’s not every day that a movie is created about the industry you work in – which is why it was exciting when a film aptly titled Term Life was released earlier this year. Featuring a range of familiar faces including comedic icon Vince Vaughn (Nick Barrow), drama veteran Bill Paxton (Joe Keenan,) and rising star Hailee Steinfeld (Cate Barrow) the cast was entwined in a battle of life, death, betrayal and the pursuit of the truth throughout the film.


“A guy wanted around town by various hit men hopes to stay alive long enough for his life insurance policy to kick in and pay out for his estranged daughter.” — IMDB

The film begins by diving directly into Nick Barrow’s heist-planning business. In Nick’s mind, there is a three-person process to getting a job done:

  1. “Bottom Feeders” find potential jobs that are handed to a “Designer.”
  2. A “Designer” – the role Nick plays – makes the criminal job doable. He plans the timeline, acquires any necessary access information and ensures that the job can be carried out as smoothly as possible.
  3. The “Buyer” essentially purchases the job from a Designer and executes the plan. The Buyers are considered the risk-takers of the operation, but they also stand to make the most money if the job is a success.

Through Nick’s interior monologue, we learn that he has a daughter, Cate, who he loves from afar. Nick believes he is protecting her from his business decisions by staying out of her life; and this theory remains mostly true until Nick’s latest job goes awry.

When the son of a cartel leader, Viktor, is killed by crooked detective, Joe Keanan, Nick’s life is placed into immediate danger. Viktor begins to pursue Nick, believing that it was he who orchestrated his son’s death following a heist.

With a cartel lord hot on his tail, Nick decides to make sure Cate would be taken care of in the event that Viktor catches up to him. Nick files for a term life insurance policy with Cate’s name listed as the sole beneficiary. Unfortunately, it is this same term life insurance policy that exposes Cate’s existence to Nick’s enemies.

The pace of the movie kicks into high gear as Nick races to keep himself and his estranged daughter out of the hands of all who threaten their lives, including Viktor, Detective Keanan and an array of other burgeoning adversaries.

Spoiler Alert: The End

By the end of Term Life, Nick and Cate are able to work through the 16 lost years between them, ultimately leading Cate to save her father’s life by striking a deal with those who originally sought to kill them.

It is in the last ten minutes of the film that Nick receives a “better payout” than he would have received from his term life insurance policy: He gets to keep his life, spend more time with his daughter and his name is cleared of all charges framing him for two murders he did not commit.

Final Thoughts

While Term Life may not win an Oscar in February, the film does highlight the lengths a father will go to protect his child, such as investing in a term life insurance policy to ensure his daughter is financially taken care of once his questionable career has caught up with him.

To learn more about how you can financially protect your family from a life-ending event, read our official Term Life Insurance page.


Term Life Insurance products offered through TMFS Insurance Agency LLC, a separate company, affiliated with Financial Engines Advisors, L.L.C. (FEA), in states where licensed. TMFS Insurance Agency, LLC is under common ownership with FEA. Each entity is its own separate entity that provides services for its client independent from the other.

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