Review Date: September 05, 2003
Director: Isabel Coixet
Writer: Isabel Coixet
Producers: Esther García, Gordon McLennan
Sarah Polley as Ann
Mark Ruffalo as Lee
Scott Speedman as Don
Scott Speedman?! Wow...who knew that he could act so well? Color me impressed (especially after his half-assed performance in DARK BLUE) This guy really gave his character a wonderful feel, a sense of niceness and inner joy. In fact, I'm still not entirely sure why his wife didn't seem to love him any more than she did actually...I'd even marry this guy! Mark Ruffalo also continued to hit balls out of the park with yet another solid performance, this one drenched with a tinge of self-doubt and love-struck anxiety. Even secondary characters like Debbie Harry were right-on, as the cynical mom still living in the past, and the new neighbor, played by Leonor Watling, who delivered a passionate speech about one memorable event at the hospital that broke my heart. Must be that time of the month for me. Now while all that is fine and dandy, the truth is that the butter that spread itself over this piece of bread with the greatest panache was the lead played superbly by Sarah Polley, an actress who has been bucking the "Hollywood system" of late in order to be involved in more substantial projects, and if these are the kinds of pictures that she wants to go after...more power to her (although it's always nice to balance it off with stuff like GO). As the centerpiece, the most crucial part of this story, Polley came across as a strong, yet sensitive, woman-child, who never really had the chance to do all the things most "regular girls" her age were doing. In various scenes, she managed to portray the vast gamut of emotions that you would expect from someone in her position and had me "gulping up" on more than one occasion. I was a little surprised by how little the film's ending tugged at me emotionally, but I think that was the filmmaker's choice. Overall, MY LIFE WITHOUT ME is definitely one of the better movies of the year, filled with great performances, introspection, emotional tangents, a deeper appreciation of the human spirit, and most vividly, a re-affirmation of the value of one's life.