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MY LIFE WITHOUT ME

What can you say about a 23-year-old girl who lived? Canadian director Isabel Coixet’s austere tearjerker, based on a short story by Nanci Kincaid, is the anti-Love Story, avoiding, for the most part, clichés and mawkish manipulations and focusing on the details of life that the glimpse of mortality makes heartbreaking. Sarah Polley, one of the great young actresses of our time, stars as Ann, a working-class Vancouver woman whose life seems drearily set. Having married as a teen to her first boyfriend (Scott Speedman), a good-natured but marginally employable knucklehead, mother to two daughters, working at nights as a cleaner, and living (à la 8 Mile) in a trailer in the yard of her dyspeptic mother(Debbie Harry), Ann’s prospects seem bleak. So why not add a disease to her woes? The bad news, however, doesn’t open Ann to self-pity but to self-examination, and she comes up with a to-do list that includes press-on nails and sleeping with Mark Ruffalo and a series of gritty epiphanies that only occasionally fizzle into Hallmark Card couplets. (102 minutes.)


Issue Date: October 10 - 16, 2003
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