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My Life Without Me
My Life Without Me
Actors: Sarah Polley, Scott Speedman, Mark Ruffalo, Leonor Watling, Alfred Molina
Director: Isabel Coixet
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama
R     2004     1hr 46min

Sarah Polley stars as Ann, a young wife and mother who's recently been diagnosed with a terminal illness. After vowing to keep her terrible news a secret, Ann begins living with an intensity she never thought possible. Wit...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: Sarah Polley, Scott Speedman, Mark Ruffalo, Leonor Watling, Alfred Molina
Director: Isabel Coixet
Creators: Esther García, Isabel Coixet, Agustín Almodóvar, Gordon McLennan, Jordi Torrent, Michel Ruben, Nanci Kincaid
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama
Sub-Genres: Indie & Art House, Love & Romance, Family Life
Studio: Sony Pictures
Format: DVD - Color,Widescreen,Anamorphic
DVD Release Date: 02/24/2004
Release Year: 2004
Run Time: 1hr 46min
Screens: Color,Widescreen,Anamorphic
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 9
MPAA Rating: R (Restricted)
Languages: English

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Movie Reviews

Sad, sweet, sentimental and real
Linda Linguvic | New York City | 04/02/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)

"This 2003 film is a sad and sweet story of a young woman who has just two months to live. Sarah Polley is wonderful in this role and, in spite of a somewhat sentimental story, makes her character believable and real. She's only 23 years old, lives in a trailer with her husband and two young daughters, and works nights cleaning at the local university. Their marriage is happy, the children adorable. The doctor who gives her the news, played by Julian Richings has one of the most memorable and homely faces I have ever seen. He, himself, is saddened and finds it hard to look her straight in the eye. He alone keeps her secret and agrees to hold on to some tapes she makes to be given to her loved ones after she dies. Her "to do" list is unique. Even though she loves her husband, she wants to know what it would be like to sleep with another man and have him fall in love with her. She does that with Mark Ruffalo, a gentle and lonely man she meets in a laundromat. She also goes to visit her father who is in jail and they have a poignant scene together. Deborah Harry plays her bitter mother who's lived a life of disappointments but loves her daughter and grandchildren. One of the beauties of the story is that this young woman manages to tie up all the details of her young life in a practical, efficient way - even going so far as to find a future wife for her husband. Her choices are hers alone and she handles them with courage. Basically, the story is a soap opera and usually I don't like those kind of films. But this film was done so well that I relaxed, got into it and found myself appreciating my own life even more. This is not a perfect film and it's not for everybody. But I liked it. Recommended."
Real Life
Martin A Hogan | San Francisco, CA. (Hercules) | 06/20/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Sarah Polley ("Exotica", "Go") plays Anne, a 23 year old, poor rural housewife with two young daughters. She has a completely unselfish manner, until she discovers she has only a few months to live. Anne decides to keep this a secret from everyone, including her husband played by Scott Speedman ("Underworld", "Duets") and her long suffering Mom played by Deborah Harry. Drafting a note, Anne lists ten things she is determined to do before she dies. These include telling her daughters she loves them everyday, leaving cassettes for both daughters birthdays until they are eighteen and also having sex with one other man. That man is well played by Mark Ruffalo ("In The Cut', "The Last Castle") who falls hopelessly in love with Anne. The story is simple, yet the acting is true and lacks any soppiness. It almost feels like everyone is holding back their feelings and that makes for good tension. There are many surprises for all before the end of the film and although it may not be an upbeat tale, it satisfies without leaving the viewer cheapened - only somewhat enlightened."
"Ten Things to Do Before She Dies"; Lyrical and Quiet Drama
Tsuyoshi | Kyoto, Japan | 11/28/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)

"This is a Spanish/Canadian film starring ever-wonderful Sarah Polley as Ann, terminally-ill young mother living in a trailer house with her two small girls, Penny and Patsy. But don't worry about its apparently serious theme; the film is filled with lyrical, and even quirky atomosphere well handled by Spanish director Isabel Coixet.Ann is working night-shift at university in Vancouver, and has a two cute girls to raise. Her husband Don (Scott Speedman) is out of work, but luckily is likely to get a job at the swimming pool construction. But one day, Ann realizes that she is going to die within two months, maybe three. Then she decides to list ten things she should do before dying, which go as follows:1) Tell my daughters I love them several times a day.
2) Find Don a new wife who the girls like.
3) Record birthday messages for the girls for every year until they're 18.
4) Go to Whalebay Beach together and have a big picnick.
5) Smoke and drink as much as I want....You should see the remaining five for yourself. The film does not follow her action of doing them one by one. Instead, it shows how she comes to see and accept the inevitable fact -- "My Life without Me." She meets a new boy, book-loving Lee (Mark Ruffalo), and a new next-door neighbor namesake Ann (Lennor Watling, the sleeping beauty in "Talk to Her"). You don't expect "My Life." The heroine's emotional change is sometimes very subtle, apparently difficult to find. However, just because of this delicate and rounded characterization, we start to care these people tenderly depicted in the film. The story is almost non-existent; what you see is Ann gradually fading away (or preparing for that) without telling the fact that she is ill. This setting is a bit forced, but still intriguing enough.And its quirky humor. Director Isabel Coixet once gave us little-seen (but charming) film "Things I Never Told You" in which slight things make us smile. But I have to tell you that "My Life without Me" gives that kind of "little smile" when the film is very poignant. See one of the little girls say during the dinner about Ann's co-worker (Amanda Plummer). You either find it funny, or very cruel. Though I must say not everything succeeds (especially some of the dialogues and long monologues looks out of place). But for all its familar and potentially dismal theme, the film keeps on engaging, largely thanks to Sarah Polly's credible performance. If you liked her in "Sweet Hereafter," this is for you.About guest stars. You can see Maria de Medeiros ("Pulp Fiction") as the Hairdresser, and a bit of her dancing. Alfred Molina ("Chocola") and Deborah Harry also appear as Ann's parents. The film is co-produced by Pedro Almodovar. And certainly the subject matter is what he is likely to cherish."
Not just a tear jerker
J. Cole | 09/05/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)

"The film touched my life in a unique way. It made me stop and think about when the last time I told my family I loved them was. It made me think about what I would do if I knew I was dying within 2 months. And it made me wonder why the heck I wasn't doing those things. Watch this movie, then get out and live your life."