Written on: 11/08/2006 by emza2511 (176 reviews written)
My Life Without Me: Ann (Sarah Polley) is a hard working mother with two young daughters, a husband (Scott Speedman), a mother (Deborah Harry) with a history of broken dreams, and a father who has spent the last ten years in jail. While other women her age are out partying, she spends her nights working as a janitor in a university. She lives with her family in a tiny trailer in her mother's backyard.
After collapsing one day, she goes in for a medical check-up, where a shy doctor tells her some shocking news. She tells no-one, determined to shield her daughters from the truth, and at the same time to take control of her life and to make the most out of it. In private, Ann makes a list of things she had always wanted to accomplish in her life but never had the time. They range from the mundane to the sublime. From changing her hairstyle and getting fake nails, to finding and making love with another man.
Suddenly, Ann's life opens up, and the life force that was nascent in this 23 year-old working-class woman blooms into a quiet, yet steely determination.
Burdened with her secret, but liberated by her new sense of control, Ann's emotional journey leads her to unexpected places and gives her life new meaning: The tender moments, and the volatile emotions she must keep inside, the recognition that she has the power to understand, examine and fully live her own life.
The story is simple, yet the acting is true and lacks any soppiness. It almost feels like everyone is holding back their feelings, and that makes for good tension. There are many surprises for all before the end of the film, and although it may not be an upbeat tale, it satisfies without leaving the viewer cheapened - only somewhat enlightened.