My Life Without Me
September 26, 2003
When you think of films or even "made for TV" movies about someone dying at a young age, what are the first words that come to mind? Sappy. Weepy. Depressing. Correct on all three. However, this film looks to change your mind about some of these typical themes.
Writer/director Isabel Coixet bases this film on the short story by Nanci Kinkaid titled "Pretending the Bed is a Raft." She is supported in her effort by a strong cast including Sarah Polley, Alfred Molins, and Deborah Harry of Blondie fame.
The story is about a woman named Ann, who has found out that she has terminal cancer and has only three months to live. This sounds like the recipe for the same old boring film, doesn't it? In this case, you couldn't be more wrong. Ann doesn't tell her family and friends of her condition and decides to use this time to plan and do all the things she wouldn't have time to do otherwise. This still sounds like the typical dying movie, but this one doesn't go down that familiar path.
First, Ann decides to record birthday messages to her children so she stays as a presence as they grow up. On the romantic front, she finds a new lover for herself (Mark Ruffalo) and a new wife (Leonor Watling) for her husband, Don (Scott Speedman). In terms of family, she visits her father (Molina) in prison and tries to make amends with her mother (Harry), who fades in and out of reality.
Coixet does a wonderful job not dragging this movie out and depressing the audience. The cast members are all terrific in their roles. They make you believe in them and pull you into the story. Watch for this special film at an independent movie venue near you in the future. (Marty Doskins/BOP)