My Life Without Me (2003) Movie Review

Director: Isabel Coixet

Writer: Isabel Coixet (Screenplay) Nanci Kincaid (Book)

Starring: Sarah Polley, Amanda Plummer, Scott Speedman, Mark Ruffalo, Debbie Harry, Julian Richings

Plot: A young woman conceals the fact of her terminal cancer to live her life with a passion she never had before.

Runtime: 1 Hour 46 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Polley is Exceptional

Story: My Life Without Me starts as we meet mother, wife and cleaner Ann (Polley) who has a routine in her day that puts her children first and gets the positives out of her life, until one day she collapses, learning she has terminal cancer.

Ann decides to keep the news to herself, trying not to bring the burden on her family, while she sets out her own plan of a bucket list, things that will leave her family with happy memories about her, while also looking to explore a few things she never got to, including meeting other men, with Lee (Ruffalo) being the one she turns to.

Thoughts on My Life Without Me

Characters – Ann is the mother, wife and cleaner, she has always put her kids first, only she never got to live her younger life, this has never bothered her until she learns she has terminal cancer, now she wants to remain happy for family, but take a few more chances in life, while making sure her family will remember her once she is gone. Ann shows us what it is like to see the world come crashing down around them, while needing to remain strong. Don is the husband to Ann, he works hard to help support the family too, he is always good to her, he does know that Ann is the strength in his life too. Lee is the stranger Ann meets, she does want to know more from love, which is why she turns to Lee for something she could never get from Don the man she loves, he is always friendly and caring towards here. We do also meet other people in Ann’s life, we have her mother, co-worker, children and doctors, all give Ann different decision to make in her remaining life.

PerformancesSarah Polley is amazing in this film, she steps up to be head and shoulders above the whole cast, bringing to life a character that feels like she could be in anybody’s life. We do have a strong supporting cast in mark Ruffalo, Scott Speedman and Amanda Plummer, who give Polley even more to work off through the film too.

StoryThe story here follows a young woman who has been living a routine life until she learns she has terminal cancer, she doesn’t want to let her family know, instead carry on like normal and take a few more chances in her own life. This does show a new way to make sure someone who is dying decides to show us a new way to make sure their family can be prepared once they are gone. We see how Ann is trying to do the right thing, both for the future and for her remaining time, without needing to dive into the painful treatment scene. The story is told in a such a way, where it sends the message to make the most of your own life no matter how difficult life could be for everyone.

RomanceThe romance in the film shows what Ann wanted in life, even though she is happy with what she has, it is all about what could be in her life.

SettingsThe film uses the setting to show us an everyday life that Ann lives in, the poorer family she is in, needing the two jobs to keep the trailer for her family.

Scene of the Movie – Making the list.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – We could see more of Don’s side of everyday life.

Final Thoughts This is a brilliantly acting movie that shows Sarah Polley at her very best, it has a touching story and gives an important message for all.

Overall: Touching Drama.

Signature Entertainment presents My Life Without Me on Digital HD July 31 and on Amazon Prime August 3rd

ABC Film Challenge – Romance – Z – Venus (2017) Movie Review

We are under Z because of star Zena Darawalla.

Director: Eisha Marjara

Writer: Eisha Marjara (Screenplay)

Starring: Debargo Sanyal, Jamie Mayers, Pierre-Yves Cardinal, Zena Darawalla, Gordon Warnecke, Amber Goldfarb

Plot: A dramatic comedy about a transitioning woman who discovers that she’s the father of a 14 year old boy.

Runtime: 1 Hour 35 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Interesting Life Drama

Story: Venus starts as we meet Sid (Sanyal) a man that has been going for the transitional process to become a woman, almost reaching the final stages, when she learns that she has a son Ralph (Mayers) who has been searching for his father for years.

As Ralph continues to become distant from his own mother, he is starting to get closer and even accepting to Sid, unlike a lot of people in and around Sid’s own life, the parental figure is starting to get strong between the two, even though they never knew about each other.

Thoughts on Venus

Characters – Sid was born a man and is going through the transitional stage to become a woman, this goes against everything his Indian parent’s want to, well more his mother than his father, he gets funny looks in work and life, only to discover he fathered a child when at high school. She is in a relationship where she doesn’t get to show their love in public, where she is the one that is being hidden from the world. She is trying to break down his parents and with the son, she will get more acceptance from her mother. Ralph is the high school student who comes to Sid about being his son, he gets to hand out with Sid where he accepts his life choice and in return gets treated with more respect than his mother. Daniel is the partner of Sid, he is less willing to come out publicly which has always been the problem in their relationship, no matter how close they are with each other. Mamaji and Papaji are the parents that aren’t as supportive as they could be, they are very family orientated, which is why they can show signs of displeasure only to learn to love their child no matter what the choice in life will be.

PerformancesDebargo Sanyal in the leading role is great showing the difficult life anyone going through a transition would have different problems in life. Jamie Mayers is strong too, being the teen who has his own problems in life, while the rest of the supporting cast are solid enough without doing too much else.

StoryThe story here follows Sid who is going through the transition from a man to a woman only to discover they fathered a child while in high school, dealing with yet another problem in life, not only being a parent, but trying to get acceptance from their own family. The story does put the spotlight on the difficulties that anyone going through the transition would be facing in everyday life, how family will want to accept, but not always knowing how to embrace their choice. It also shows how learning to become a parent could be difficult too, with the pure shock of learning and not knowing how to be one. Dealing with the most difficult moments in life is the most important part of the film and they get the right time to shine.

Comedy/RomanceThe comedy is more to do with reactions to certain moments, not looking for laughs like it could have, while the romance shows us what love could have been, what love was and how you need to show it.

SettingsThe film doesn’t go big with the settings, showing us the home environments for the three different families.

Scene of the Movie – Sid taking control.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – We don’t get enough about what happened in the past between Sid and the mother.

Final Thoughts This is an important look at how difficult life can be for anybody going through a transition, it shows how normal in life they are and the world can make things more difficult.

Overall: Important.

ABC Film Challenge – Romance – X – 10 Things We Should Do Before We Break Up (2020) Movie Review

This is under X because of the struggles with relationships

Director: Galt Niederhoffer

Writer: Galt Niederhoffer (Screenplay)

Starring: Christina Ricci, Hamish Linklater, Mia Sinclair Jenness, Brady Jenness, Lindsey Broad, Jon Abrahams

Plot: After Abigail, a single mom of two, becomes pregnant following a one-night stand with Ben, the unlikely pair try to make a go of it.

Runtime: 1 Hour 14 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Nice Little Romance Film

Story: 10 Things We Should Do Before We Break Up starts when single mother Abigail (Ricci) get tricked into a blind date with Benjamin (Linklater) the two have a spark, an unusual date of planning what they would do on in a relationship before it ended, which does start like a normal fun date, only after the relationship is going well, Abigail becomes pregnant.

The two must decide what to do with this news, with Benjamin being unsure of what to do next, with Abigail knowing what it would be like to have a child, deciding whether they could be a couple that raise a kid or not.

Thoughts on 10 Things We Should Do Before We Break Up

Characters – Abigail is the single mother that has gotten to the stage of her life where she has accepted her life, seeing her kids over certain days, not searching for love, until her friend sets her up with a stranger. She gets pregnant and wants to keep the baby, believing this would be the change to help her feel whole again. Benjamin is the man that has been set up with Abigail, he never wanted kids or to be involved with someone with kids, until he tries to grow up to maybe have his own family. We do meet the kids, they are Wallace and Luke, who are like against Benjamin to start with, but can be won over in time.

PerformancesChristina Ricci brings the spark to her role, we can see the struggles she is dealing with, as well as the desire to have more in her life, the happiness she desires in her life too. Hamish Linklater shows how reluctant someone would be to getting into a relationship, while showing how much they will try to change.

StoryThe story here follows a single mother that gets involved in a relationship with a man that isn’t ready for kids, with her ending up getting pregnant. We follow how the two try to make a relationship out of the situation and figure out whether they can make it or not. This is a story that starts of like a meet cute style of trying to bring us a new idea of trying to get something fresh out of relationship. Saying, this we do get to deal with the traditional relationship, showing the ups and downs through one as the couple need to figure out if they are right together or not. It is a nice easy watch, that will get a few laughs.

RomanceThe romance side of the film shows us just how difficult love can be for people in different stages of their life.

SettingsThe film uses the home setting of the most part, it shows us just how the lives of everyone in that house will change during the pregnancy.

Scene of the Movie – The list being made.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Too short, with an ending that could have seen more.

Final ThoughtsThis is a fun and enjoyable romance that does show us just how complicated relationships can be for everyone involved, with Christina Ricci take the front and centre role with ease.

Overall: Enjoyable.

ABC Film Challenge – Romance – R – Time Traveller (2015) Movie Review

This is under R because of the director Roland Joffe.

Director: Roland Joffe

Writer: Roland Joffe (Screenplay) Ajey Jhankar (Story)

Starring: Josh Hartnett, Bipasha Basu, Tamsin Egerton, James Mackay, Alice Englert, Simone Kessell, Abhay Deol

Plot: An epic, sweeping and riveting tale of an impossible love set across two time periods and continents.

Tagline – Love is longer than life.
Runtime: 1 Hour 49 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Painfully Boring

Story: Time Traveller starts in modern time at Jay (Hartnett) and his partner Laura (Egerton) are diving in search of unseen history when an accident happens, we transport back to the 1700’s where Scottish soldier James (Hartnett) has been operating in the British army operating in India in the middle of an attempt to take the throne.

James must help the Queen Tulaja (Basu) find safety, while her husband continues to hold back the threat, James must use his skills to stay ahead of the threat, using his knowledge of the land to stay alive.

Thoughts on Time Traveller

Characters – Jay is a driver that will do anything to save his love, risking everything free diving to save her, that is about it for his story. James is a Scottish soldier that has mapped India for years and now is charged with escorting a queen across the land in an attempt to get her to safety from a rising enemy. Tulaja is the queen that James must escort who isn’t afraid to get her hands dirty along the way. Laura is the love of Jay who dives with him, finding herself trapped. The characters aren’t written very well in this film at all, consider some are meant to show the strength to lead armies.

PerformancesJosh Hartnett does struggle here, he doesn’t hit the accent well either, which seems to let his talent fall, Bipasha Basu does well enough, though the script doesn’t help the performance for anybody in this film.

StoryThe story here follows one man risk his life for love, before jumping back in time to see him again fighting for love in the middle of the British India battle, where he tries to save a queen. Well that is what the story looks like, it is put together very weakly, with most of the story just being bland and uninspiring, with little connection to how anything involving actual time travel, it wants to look more into reincarnation, only doesn’t get properly involved with that either and ends up being a dull experience.

Action/RomanceThe action is most based on the battles between the British and Indians, while not being anything edge of the seat or anything, while showing that the romance is what one person would do for love.

SettingsThe film does use two very different settings, the modern world where the divers would operate and the Indian landscape for the battle between the two nations, it all works for the film.

Scene of the Movie – Free Diving.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Dull story.

Final Thoughts This is a disappointingly dull film that wastes the talent to give us a story that just doesn’t get going and ends up fall flat.

Overall: Dull.

ABC Film Challenge – Romance – Q – Sky (2015) Movie Review

This is under Q because of actress Q’orianka Kilcher starring in the film.

Director: Fabienne Berthaud

Writer: Fabienne Berthaud, Pascal Arnold (Screenplay)

Starring: Diane Kruger, Norman Reedus, Gilles Lellouche, Q’orianka Kilcher, Lena Dunham, Laurene Landon

Plot: Romy (Diane Kruger) is on holiday in the USA with her French husband, Richard (Gilles Lellouche). But the journey quickly turns into a settling of old scores for this worn out couple. After an ultimate fight, Romy decides to break free. She cuts off her ties to a stable and secure life that has become alienating and escapes to the unknown.

Runtime: 1 Hour 40 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Simple Life Drama

Story: Sky starts as French woman Romy (Kruger) is travelling around USA with her husband Richard (Lellouche), the two do have their problems which resorts in Romy needing to defend herself from Richard, killing him in the act, forcing her to go on the run alone.

After learning she didn’t kill her husband, Romy decides to leave him and stay in America, heading to Las Vegas to start a new life, where at first she must find shelter and soon a job, which leads her to rancher Diego (Reedus) who offers her something she hasn’t experienced before, with this new future, will she enjoy the free roaming lifestyle or not.

Thoughts on Sky

Characters – Romy is a French woman that is travelling with her husband around America, the spark in her marriage has started to fade and after defending herself from his advices, she decides to leave him and explore America. She befriends Diego and starts to enjoy her life once again. Diego is the mysterious man that Romy meets in Vegas, he offers friendship instead of just being a man that hits on her, he is so relaxed for who he is and this helps want to let Romy open up more. Richard is the husband that knows his marriage is falling apart, he starts getting defensive and abusive towards Romy. Everyone else that we meet are people Romy meets along her journey, helping her get through it or offering her shelter.

PerformancesDiane Kruger us the star of the film, she does show the emotional impact a loveless marriage can have on somebody and how being free changes thing. Norman Reedus is always one of the better actors for this type of role, he does everything right without being challenged to be more. We don’t really see much more from the rest of the cast, which is a shame because of the level of talent we do see in this film.

StoryThe story here follows one woman who leaves her loveless marriage in hope of finding something more in life with a man that has his own tortured past. This is a story that does the focused idea of trying to not just accept certain parts of life, when you could find more from just putting yourself out there, it doesn’t show that this will be everything you would imagine coming form life, just something you learn to enjoy. The pace of the story is slow and it does seem to point the direction of America only having two main locations, where meeting a stranger in Vegas would mean you get to learn more about life. This isn’t the most interesting story though because it only shows a woman that seems to find love in a location that isn’t always waiting for her.

RomanceThe romance in this story follows Romy as she leaves a loveless marriage in search for new love.

SettingsThe film uses the two settings, with Vegas being the meeting place and the open plains around it being the place where the everyday person would be living in.

Scene of the Movie – Rabbit.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – It just doesn’t seem to get going.

Final Thoughts Slow moving romance that does have some surprises along the way, but shows that life can be found in the strangest places.

Overall: Life drama for all.