My Life Without Me (2003)
Writer/director Isabel Coixet’s film about Nanci
Kincaid’s book requires a certain frame of mind if it is to be enjoyed
and understood fully. Do not be sleepy, do not be distracted and do not
be physically uncomfortable whilst watching. This slow, painful
meditation on death in the modern family is largely subjective, focusing
on the feelings of terminal cancer patient Ann (Sarah Polley).
The likeable wife and mother in her early 20s is at
the university—if only as a cleaner. In a circumstance of tragic irony,
a medical examination of what she thinks is a foetus—new life—turns out
to be a tumour: life ending. She tells no one—not her husband nor mother
(played by Debbie Harry) but consoles herself to her fate by quietly
planning a sound future for what will be her family sans her.
Her realisation that her life will end also prompts
her to experiment with aspects of life she would not normally do: have
extra-marital relations and try out an unusual hairstyle from her
reggae-tragic, crypto-lesbian stylist.
Ann’s remote and ‘modest’ circumstances give the film
real grit and gravitas. Such a project always requires performances of
elevated pathos and the cast does not fail to deliver the goods. It is a
sombre and meditative piece, which plateaus to a serene and courageous
The DVD also has the following extras:
Behind the scenes
Q & A with director
Cast and crew
I enjoyed this one, but
please be aware that it might have a sedative effect if not watched in
the prescribed recommendations above!