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My Life Without Me PDF Print E-mail
Written by Sheila Seacroft   
15 11 2004

Directed by Isabel Coixet

My Life Without MeAnn (Sarah Polley) is a 23-year-old mother of 2 girls who lives in a trailer at the bottom of her mother's garden, and works as a night-time cleaner. Her father is in prison, her husband in and out of low paid jobs. When a hospital check-up shows advanced cancer and gives her at most 2 more months, she paradoxically discovers life and begins to take control.

My Life Without MeComing to terms with her awful knowledge, Ann sits down in a cheap late night café and makes a list of 'things to do before I die' which range from 'get my nails done' to 'make someone fall in love with me'. And the fate that has dealt her such a cruel hand so far comes up trumps here, in the person of Lee (Mark Ruffalo, the brusque cop of 'In The Cut'), a lost soul who reads George Eliot in the laundrette, wonderfully bumbling and touching in his niceness.

A raven-haired Amanda Plummer, looking unnervingly like her father Christopher, as Ann's eccentric colleague Laurie; Deborah Harry as her depressive mother, with a taste for afternoon Joan Crawford movies, and Maria de Medeiros (Bruce Willis's girlfriend in 'Pulp Fiction'), gorgeously funny as a zany hairdresser, all turn in great performances. Most of these characters are living half in fantasy, to keep their tedious lives bearable. Ann no longer needs all this make-believe - she is at the heart of truth, standing in the rain and feeling every bit of its wetness, while for the first time in her life she lives her own desires.

who needs a mat?Although belonging to the 'too young to die' genre, this film is remarkable in its avoidance of sentimentality, and this is to a great extent due to Polley's understated performance, and a superb script, all brought to glowing life by Coixet's direction and Jean Claude Larrieu's photography. The texture of normal family life is palpable. You might cry, but you won't feel ashamed of crying.


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