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My Life Without Me (2003)

Sarah Polley , Amanda Plummer , Isabel Coixet  |  R |  DVD
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (81 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Sarah Polley, Amanda Plummer, Scott Speedman, Leonor Watling, Deborah Harry
  • Directors: Isabel Coixet
  • Format: AC-3, Anamorphic, Color, Dolby, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Region: Region 1 encoding (US and Canada only)
    Some Region 1 DVDs may contain Regional Coding Enhancement (RCE). Some, but not all, of our international customers have had problems playing these enhanced discs on what are called "region-free" DVD players. For more information on RCE, click .
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment/Mill Creek
  • DVD Release Date: February 24, 2004
  • Run Time: 106 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (81 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00013WWSY
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #63,597 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "My Life Without Me" on IMDb

Special Features

  • Making-of featurette

Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Ever feel your life's been a dream and you're only just waking up? Sarah Polley (GO, eXistenZ) 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. With senses heightened and passions rekindled, she quickly begins putting her life in order: taping love letters to her husband Don ("Felicity"'s Scott Speedman) and birthday greetings to her two small girls, making peace with her parents; and seeking solace in the arms of a handsome but lonely stranger (Mark Ruffalo, You Can Count on Me). Gripping, joyful and sensitive, MY LIFE WITHOUT MEis a touching tale for today that challenges us to live as if there were no tomorrow.

It sounds like Love Story, but with an intriguing twist. 23-year-old wife and mom Sarah Polley has spent her entire life sacrificing for others and living on the economic fringe; when she discovers she has only a few months to live, she resolves to keep the news secret. In her remaining time, she plots a course for various unfinished plans and deferred dreams: write a journal, leave future messages for her kids, make a stranger (Mark Ruffalo) fall in love with her. Obviously, the danger of sentimentality lurks in director Isabel Coixet's concept, and the film does have a few soggy moments. Some critics lost patience with the main character's seeming selfishness (a good post-movie conversation starter). Yet there is something powerful in her insistence on claiming a small piece of existence exclusively for herself. Polley (Guinevere) gives a typically honest performance, with fine support by Scott Speedman and Deborah Harry. --Robert Horton

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
41 of 41 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Sad, sweet, sentimental and real April 2, 2004
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.
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25 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Real Life June 20, 2004
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.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Fiercely Intelligent Meditation On The Unthinkable April 13, 2004
Sarah Polley. Mark Ruffalo. Here we have two of the most talented, interesting actors at work in film today. In My Life Without Me they have a script and a director and each other to stretch with and the results are provocative and moving. From the first few moments of this artfully photographed archive of the last days of a life, I knew I was in for a treat. But nothing can prepare you for the powerful treatment of loss and grief which Polley's seemingly effortless portrayal of a doomed twenty-three year-old mother of two provides. There are actors who compel empathy in their audience simply by being so deeply immersed in character that states of emotional upheaval are communicated as if by telepathy. Polley has the gift. Whatever part she takes on she inhabits completely. Brilliant acting aside, I thought the narrative structure of My Life Without Me was quirky, full of surprise and never maudlin. Polley comments at one point in an unusually insightful voiceover about her fate that 'no one thinks about death in a supermarket.' This film exists precisely for those who would like nothing better than to spend a few hours thinking about the inevitable transition into oblivion. And about the legacy one would like to leave behind for those whom we love.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not just a tear jerker September 4, 2005
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.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Still with me April 12, 2004
I just saw this film today, and I know that it'll be with me for a long while. I agree with the previous review - there's a lot that in other films you'd take as manipulative or obvious - but here it works wonderfully and powerfully. I feel like I know the characters and I was drawn into their world and where they are in life. I feel heartbroken that Ann won't grow to see her daughters flourish, won't be able to share her life and love with the people around her. It's a film about life, about feeling, and about dreaming. The first 30 seconds alone blew me away - Anne standing in the rain, feeling it, sensing it, hearing it. Thinking to herself, 'So here I am, standing in the rain' and soaking up every single tiny, magical moment of it. I feel human from watching it. I'm 'one of the people who like to look up at the moon' - and I'm buying this DVD when the shops open tomorrow.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Poignant.
What a brave young woman. Not everyone in her situation would able to handle it. Well worth watching however, it will bring you to tears.
Published 5 months ago by JG
5.0 out of 5 stars Very sad and yet uplifting about this young woman
Love Sarah Polley and her work. Some of this movie didn't make sense. Her love for her husband and father of her children and yet to get involved with another when she finds out... Read more
Published 10 months ago by Atlas 1943
5.0 out of 5 stars My fav!
This movie is sweet, sentimental and poignant. It's my favorite because laughter through tears is an emotion to share. Read more
Published 15 months ago by Reader
2.0 out of 5 stars Self Indulgent
There is zero reason for Mark Ruffalo's character to exist in this movie. He normally has great judgement about choosing roles but this generic weepy wimp takes away from the... Read more
Published 15 months ago by mr. contrarian
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Chick Flick!
I caught part of this movie on one of the cable channels and enjoyed it so much I ordered it from Amazon. Read more
Published 15 months ago by Aimee Marie
3.0 out of 5 stars not really believable...
(SPOILERS) that the average 23 year old would learn they were dying and not tell anyone - I found the premise interesting re how a young person chose to spend the last 2 months of... Read more
Published 20 months ago by Stacy Hackney (formerly customerS)
5.0 out of 5 stars Kudos
Most touching film I've ever watched. Kudos to everyone involved, direction, acting, script, editing et al. This film never gets old for me.
Published 21 months ago by susan crane
5.0 out of 5 stars Gran pelicula¡¡
No soy un gran especialista en cine pero creo que esta es realmente una excelente película por el argumento, las caracterizaciones y varias ideas muy interesantes que se... Read more
Published 21 months ago by jos vazquez
5.0 out of 5 stars powerful, poignant and very well done
My Life Without Me is a powerful, poignant film with excellent acting and a plot that grabbed my attention and never let go until the very end! Read more
Published 21 months ago by Matthew G. Sherwin
5.0 out of 5 stars Great
Great, I enjoyed receiving it on time ...keep up the god work... It came on time and as it was described
Published 22 months ago by Rabih Ayoub
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