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189 of 192 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Colin Firth Scores Again--What Acting Range!
This is a coming of age story but unusually about BOTH a father and son who mature during the course of the film. The father, played by Colin Firth, does mature in the last few minutes of the film, without uttering a word, and it is one of the most powerful sequences I've ever seen on film. The film alternates between showing Firth as an utterly delightful father...
Published on December 12, 2000 by carol irvin

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60 of 62 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good story marred by useless subplots
This film had great potential, but it was too ambitious and tried to be too inclusive in telling the story. There are really two main story lines here: (1)Young Fraser's (Robbie Norman) coming of age and (2) His father Edward's (Colin Firth) misadventures.
Fraser's story (which the title implies is the point of the film) is fabulous. It is a whimsical and witty...
Published on April 18, 2000 by flickjunkie


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189 of 192 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Colin Firth Scores Again--What Acting Range!, December 12, 2000
This review is from: My Life So Far (DVD)
This is a coming of age story but unusually about BOTH a father and son who mature during the course of the film. The father, played by Colin Firth, does mature in the last few minutes of the film, without uttering a word, and it is one of the most powerful sequences I've ever seen on film. The film alternates between showing Firth as an utterly delightful father figure, because he is a complete eccentric, and as someone who needs to grow up and accept his responsibilities. At the start of the film, he is almost more his children's boon companion than their father whereas, by the end, he is most definitely a father.

The film is told from the point-of-view of his young son and we meet quite a cast of characters, all living on an estate that is owned by the matriarch of the family. Who will be able to remain at this estate depends upon whom she leaves it to in her will. Malcolm McDowell, her grasping other son, wants it for himself and to throw the others out. This is a film the whole family can enjoy. If you are expecting to see Mr. Darcy though in this film, from Firth's portrayal of him in "Pride and Prejudice," you will be disappointed. Firth plays a very different kind of man in this film and does so beautifully.

Visit my blog with link given on my profile page here or use this phonetically given URL (livingasseniors dot blogspot dot com). Friday's entry will always be weekend entertainment recs from my 5 star Amazon reviews in film, tv, books and music. These are very heavy on buried treasures and hidden gems. My blogspot is published on Monday, Wednesday & Friday.
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89 of 91 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining - Just What I Wanted, January 28, 2003
This review is from: My Life So Far (DVD)
Sometimes all that I expect from a movie is to be entertained--- and this film fit the bill. "My Life So Far" was a charming movie and a delightful look inside a family living a somewhat odd life on an estate in Scotland in the 1920s. We see the action of the movie through the eyes of the 10 year-old Fraser and via someone who is observing what is occurring. The household consists of the family, including Fraser's grandmother who owns the estate, many servants, and frequent visitors.
The movie is more a series of vignettes/memories of the Pettigrew family and its more pronounced quirks. Fraser's father Edward, played brilliantly by Colin Firth, is an oddball inventor who runs the Pettigrew Sphagnum Moss Factory - the only one in the world. His two loves are the Bible and Beethoven. His brother, Uncle Morris, visits infrequently but when he does, it can be disruptive, especially when he appears with his very young fiancee, Heloise, with whom all the males become enamoured.
This was based on a true story - taken from the memoirs of the former director of the Royal Opera House. I wish I had known this in advance.
I cannot finish without commenting on the gorgeous scenery, on the ground and from the air, conveniently shown when one of the many visitors is a colorful and legendary pilot.
The final scene of Fraser, sitting in his father's office, listening to jazz, smoking a cigar and drinking milk from a wine glass while looking at forbidden photos was such a hoot! It will linger in my memory for a long time...priceless!
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60 of 62 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good story marred by useless subplots, April 18, 2000
This review is from: My Life So Far [VHS] (VHS Tape)
This film had great potential, but it was too ambitious and tried to be too inclusive in telling the story. There are really two main story lines here: (1)Young Fraser's (Robbie Norman) coming of age and (2) His father Edward's (Colin Firth) misadventures.
Fraser's story (which the title implies is the point of the film) is fabulous. It is a whimsical and witty look at the coming of age of a ten year old boy in 1920's Scotland. He learns about sex by furtively studying his grandfather's books and pictures of unclad women. Put in the context of a completely naive ten year old mind, he develops some funny interpretations of the subject that are routinely and innocently blurted out in the presence of adults, usually to the mortification of his parents. This was a wonderful story and his journey to manhood should have been the subject of the entire movie.
The second story line was dull, and encumbered the film. This is the story of Fraser's father Edward. It centers around two key subplots. The first is his kooky childlike lifestyle, including crazy inventions and ineffective businesses. The second is his obsession with his Uncle Morris's (Malcolm McDowell) fiancée. Other subplots in this story line include a rivalry between Edward and Morris for the inheritance of the castle. This overly dramatic subplot bogs down the film and ruins the comedic and mirthful elements provided in Fraser's story.
The cinematography was splendid, helped greatly by the beauty of the Scottish countryside and the magnificence of the Castle the family called home. Fortunately, there was a character with an airplane that gave director Hugh Hudson a convenient excuse to show aerial views of the castle and the countryside which were simply breathtaking. The photography in this film is reason enough to see it.
The acting was excellent. Though I wish the character had less emphasis, Colin Firth was excellent as Edward, the quirky father figure. Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio gave a fine performance in a minor role as Moira, Edward's wife and the mother of his ten children. Once again, she had an opportunity to showcase her beautiful singing voice (see "Limbo" if you want to really hear her sing). Malcolm McDowell and Irene Jacob were also excellent as the uncle and aunt.
The best performance by far was that of Robbie Norman as young Fraser. He was full of innocent mischief and gave a convincing portrayal of the curiosity and nescience of youth.
I gave this film a 7/10. If you enjoy interesting character studies, slice of life films, beautiful scenery and comedy spawned of innocence, you will love this film. Had they stayed with the main story line, I probably would have given it a 10.
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33 of 33 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An underrated film, August 1, 2004
This review is from: My Life So Far (DVD)
This movie will appeal to anyone who enjoys watching movies about large sprawling families, oddball characters, and little slice-of-life episodes. It's the 1920s and Fraser Pettigrew is 10 years old. He lives with a swarm of siblings, a devoted mother, a kindly grandmother, and an eccentric father who invents odd gadgets and invests in strange things (such as sphagnum moss). Things get even more mixed-up when Fraser's uncle arrives. Not only does the uncle treat Fraser's father with a kind of affectionate contempt, he has brought along a much younger fiancee - a sweet and musical Frenchwoman. Fraser, who is becoming curious about sex, and is only just seeing that his father is not infallible, is shocked when he notices that his father pays a great deal of attention to his uncle's fiancee. A rift in the family looks imminent, particularly when Fraser's mother discovers that her husband desires another woman.

In all, My Life So Far is a sweet coming of age story with some troubling episodes, as when Fraser's father childishly competes with him for attention from the Frenchwoman (who, unlike in other movies, is not a home-wrecking siren, but is actually a good woman who is faithful to her fiance). The movie treats the complexities of family life and childhood with humor and care. The visuals are also beautiful - the Scottish countryside does not disappoint - and there are other scenes that linger in the mind (a tender dance in the rain, for example). Really, this is a great movie for a quiet evening at home, snuggled under blankets.
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24 of 24 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining story, lots of Firth!, June 20, 2005
By 
Jenny (Chicago, IL USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: My Life So Far (DVD)
Set in the 1920s, this film is enjoyable and charming while also touching on some of the darker aspects of growing up. Told through the eyes of a young boy, the actions of the adults seem even sillier and more laughter-provoking. However, this is no straight comedy. It touches on themes of marital discord, puberty (never fun) and ultimately, the "meaning of life."

The scenery is beautiful and Colin Firth is gorgeous in an atypical role as an inventor. His character is not all sweetness and light and that makes him more interesting. Firth fans, please take note of the fact that he appears in almost every bit of the film. It's fun to see him in the role of an eccentric dad (although you know you're getting older when you lust after the actor in the film that plays the father!)

Great acting, charming story and ultimately an uplifting film.
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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars CHARMING LITTLE MOVIE ABOUT COMING TO TERMS WITH LOVED ONES, November 23, 2003
This review is from: My Life So Far (DVD)
This original and deliciously spontaneous film is a story of the intellectual development of a prodigious child who pieces together the complex emotional mosaic of the people around him. The acting of the kid in question is so real, so absorbed, that you'll hardly feel like an onlooker -- you become a part of the family. This is complemented wholesomely by Firth and Harris.
The setting is Scotland, and the splendid camera work that captures its idyllic natural beauty is something to behold. The shots of the huge Scottish castle and its beautiful lands are fascinating.
A word about the gentle narrative. Things unfold neatly, the story is seen in flashbacks through the eyes of the ten year old. Bearing this in mind, the plot's disconnected moments and the occasional odd characters suddenly make sense. Very clever.
The feeling of coming to terms with the emotions of people around you conveyed with such simple elegance, even a sporadic humorous moment or two, that I recommend you to watch it with just about anyone that you care about, including children.
A very special, light-hearted treat!
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars I never thought I'd write but - I LIKED IT!, July 9, 2004
This review is from: My Life So Far (DVD)
I was bored one day and I flipped to IFC. They were playing this film so I decided to give it a try. Well, in the same likeness that an old song begins to inch its way into your heart, this film slowly began to grow on me. I sat there thinking, why am I watching this, only to find myself laughing at the absurd family in this film as I started to envision what it must have been like to grow up in that eccentric, if not completely captivating, clan.
In it, we meet a very inquisitive young man who discovers booze, sketched porn and smoking. His father, battling his own cravings but fronting a semblance of virtue, objects to just about everything his curious son seeks. It is here that we witness the comedy and wit unfold.
Give this film a try. The main character is hard to forget and the story, although uncouth is some segments, will still leave a fun impression on your mind
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My Life So Far, August 26, 2006
This review is from: My Life So Far (DVD)
I enjoyed the film very much. I found it amusing & delightful about an inquisitive, precocious youngster. A few of us found out about life this way. Some parents had a difficult time explaining our questions. Some may have done what gorgeous Colin Firth, the father did if they had the opportunity. I will definitely watch it again.
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21 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Well-rounded story, intelligently executed., February 25, 2000
This review is from: My Life So Far [VHS] (VHS Tape)
Are you a discerning movie goer? Do you enjoy the medium, but dislike sex and violence? Now, do you also lament the fact that many films devoid of these two elements are also devoid of a compelling story, characters, and beauty? Look no further. This film will satisfy all your wants and needs. It feels very modern, yet is a throwback to a time when nuance and suggestion carried much more weight in a film than the latest porno/sadist blockbuster. If you desire the latter, don't look here. But if you want to see proof that a very fine movie can be made without those 'other' elements, take a chance on 'My Life So Far'.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Times gone by, May 16, 2008
This review is from: My Life So Far (DVD)
My Life So Far is the memoir of an engaging 10 year old, charmingly acted by Robert Norman. His traditional Scottish family, portrayed just after The Great War, lives the cultured life of the British upper class, but times are changing. Fraser and his eccentric inventor father (Colin Firth) both fall for the lovely French fiance of an older, wealthier family scion, and the competition begins. Feeling belittled by his dad, Fraser vows to exact revenge by educating himself in the ways of the world by reading forbidden books. His strategy works, but there are several comical moments that develop because he does not quite understand what he is reading. The movie reaches a crisis when the family matriarch dies, and the denouement brings major changes. The actors are all well suited to their roles, the scenery is idyllic, and My Life is a charming, gentle story of times gone by.
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My Life So Far
My Life So Far by Hugh Hudson (DVD - 2011)
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