My Life Without Me

2003

My Life Without Me

Critics Consensus

Sarah Polley keeps this production afloat with her moving performance.

65%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 100

87%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 21,478
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Movie Info

Ann is 23-years-old, she has 2 young daughters, a husband who spends more time unemployed than working, a mother who hates the world, a father who has spent the last ten years in jail, and a job as a night janitor in a university that she could never attend in the daytime. They all live in a trailer, on the yard of her mother's house, in the outskirts of Vancouver. However, this gray existence changes completely when, after a medical check-up, a doctor tells Ann that she has very little time left on this earth. Learning that she has hardly two months to live, Ann decides to keep her condition a secret, and refuses to tell anybody--not even her husband--about her time remaining. She does not want people around her with long faces, and obsessed with her approaching death. Ann starts to make a list of things to do before dying, which she completes little by little. The list targets a wide range of things to which she must attend, including carrying out tasks like: saying exactly what she thinks to certain people; as well as getting herself some fake fingernails. Unexpectedly, Ann discovers an appetite for life that drives her to live her last days with a sensual and furious intensity she had not known before. During this short time, she prepares her daughters for a life without her; she meets a solitary wounded man, whom she seduces; and most importantly, Ann faces what remains of her life with a certain steadfast courage she never knew she possessed.

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Critic Reviews for My Life Without Me

All Critics (100) | Top Critics (36)

Audience Reviews for My Life Without Me

  • Feb 24, 2011
    You know what to expect when we have a terminally ill female lead. Thankfully, this did'nt turn out to be the usual tear-jerking melodrama. Emotions were decently real and was well acted throughout.
    Sajin P Super Reviewer
  • Nov 04, 2010
    How would you react if you knew, at the age of 23, that you only had two months to live, at best? That is the premise of this highly emotional story told unflinchingly under the direction of Isabel Coixet. Sarah Polley is Ann, the woman who gets the devastating news, and decides not to tell anyone that she is dying. That might not be your choice, but given the life she has led to this point, the absent father, the chain smoking mother, the life in a trailer with the first man she kissed and two their kids, her choices make a certain kind of sense. It is not as depressing as it sounds. There are several lighter moments that relive the gloom. Most of those involve her co-worker, Laurie (Amanda Plummer), an image obsessed woman who thinks she is fat and everyone else is successfully dieting. Mark Ruffalo plays Lee, the damaged soul who helps Ann to feel fully alive even as she is letting go of the life she has known. The only false note involved an impossible scenario involving conjoined twins, but it is not central to the story and only briefly interrupted the flow. The story transcended the characters' situations and dealt with a universal theme of mortality and discovering what is truly important in life. The economic situation and the educational level of the characters provided a limiting factor, and gave credence to the choices that Ann makes. Each of us, facing the same prospect, might not make those same choices, but that there would be choices to make was the point and the message of the film. So how would you react?
    Mark A Super Reviewer
  • Sep 20, 2010
    Well done, without being too grim. Slow moving, yet interesting to watch. Just nicely put together enough to tug on the heartstrings. I thought that the ending was very nicely done. No death scene...just images of what was left behind. Nice....
    Cynthia S Super Reviewer
  • May 30, 2009
    This film almost tried to be too sentimental, and it worked at the same time. The plot line was predictable as Ann learned she only had a small amount of time left to live, but chose not to tell her husband, the girls or her mom. She made a list of things to be done before she dies,and the list basically served as points for the rest of the plot in the film. To its credit the film did not go for a dramatic death scene which works for its advantage. Although the film was not anything new or amazingly good it was still enjoyable to watch, I just felt a bit empty when it finish.
    Daisy M Super Reviewer

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