My Life Without Me: Special Edition (2003)

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Released 21-Jun-2005

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Drama Main Menu Audio
Interviews-Cast & Crew
Featurette-Making Of
Music Video-'Humans Like You' By Chop Suey
Theatrical Trailer
Gallery-Photo
Filmographies-Cast
Trailer-Facing Windows, The Rage In Placid Lake, I'm With Lucy
Trailer-Happy Texas
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2003
Running Time 101:49
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (95:35) Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Isabel Coixet
Studio
Distributor

Twentieth Century Fox
Starring Sarah Polley
Amanda Plummer
Scott Speedman
Leonor Watling
Deborah Harry
Maria De Medeiros
Mark Ruffalo
Julian Richings
Jessica Amlee
Kenya Jo Kennedy
Esther García
Camille Martinez
Deanne Henry
Case ?
RPI $24.95 Music Gino Paoli
Alfonso Vilallonga


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.85:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    Art house films are often a bit of a mixed bag. They range from the truly brilliant, to the borderline psychotic, to the utterly mundane, to the plain crap. Thankfully, My Life Without Me is one of the first kind.

    The plot of this unassuming little movie revolves around the life of Anne (Sarah Polley), a poor cleaner with two kids and a husband, Don (Scott Speedman), who live in a trailer out the back of her mother’s place. Everything is going along well, when one day after a check up at hospital due to mysterious health problems Anne discovers she has an inoperable cancer and that she only has a short time to live. Determined not to let her family know, Anne sets out to make the most of what she can from the rest of her life, including falling in love with another man (Mark Ruffalo), leaving presents for her children until their 21st birthdays, changing her hair, and eating anything she wants.

    This is a definitely bleak and yet oddly uplifting movie about the way in which people face death. What could have been a far more depressing film is treated with such dignity and humour by its cast and crew that the result is a truly affecting film without being morose and wallowing. The performances are outstanding, particularly Sarah Polley, who renders a highly believable Anne, a character you know will die and so don’t want to associate with, and yet can’t help but like.

    Over-analysis is not what this film deserves, and as such, I will keep my review brief. If you are a fan of script-based art house dramas, then I suggest you will like this film. It is touching, bittersweet and enjoyable despite its subject matter. Highly recommended.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    Transferred here in its original 1.85:1 aspect ratio, 16x9 enhanced, this is a decent transfer.

    The image is a touch soft, likely to do with the film stock and cameras used in the production of this film and the lack of any post-production digital touch up. It is nevertheless constantly well defined and exhibits only minor grain, and only then in lower light.

    Shadow detail is quite good, with stark blacks at night and only a touch of murkiness to some of the shadows in Anne’s trailer at night. Colour is well saturated, although lacking in Hollywood gloss – no doubt an intentional choice by the director.

    There were no MPEG artefacts, and no film-to-video artefacts that I was aware of while watching the film.

    There is a bit more dirt than you would expect from a film of this era, likely a result of the lower budget of the feature, but there were no distracting huge hairs or anything.

    Unfortunately, there appear to be no subtitles available.

    The dual-layer pause is at 95:35. It occurs in the middle of a scene change almost at the end of the movie, and is barely noticeable.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    Audio is available in English 2.0 Dolby Digital Stereo only.

    Being an almost entirely dialogue/internal monologue based film, it was good to note that these aspects of the film were faithfully reproduced on DVD.

    While there was definitely a good range on this track, with great use of the treble spectrum for ambient noises, the stereo limits of the track really reduced the creation of an encapsulating sound field. There is some good left-to-right and vice versa directional cueing, but nothing much else in the way of surround information.

    The music, which plays an important part in this film, was very well rendered, but again limited by its stereo origins.

    There is no subwoofer use.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

Menus

    All menus are presented in 1.78:1, 16x9 enhanced. The main menu has a 2.0 Dolby Stereo audio track.

Cast & Crew Interviews

    Presented in a mixture of 1.33:1 Full Frame and 1.78:1 letterbox, 2.0 Dolby Surround, these are interviews with:

Featurette – “Making Of My Life without Me” (27:46)

    Presented in 1.85:1 letterbox, 2.0 Dolby Stereo audio, this is a fairly in-depth making of featurette that covers quite a bit about the film, from inspiration to production. Well worth watching.

Music Video – “Humans Like You” by Chop Suey (4:26)

    Presented in 1.85:1 letterbox, 2.0 Dolby Stereo audio, this is an interesting music video of one of the songs used in the film.

Theatrical Trailer (0:56)

    Presented in 1.85:1 letterbox, 2.0 Dolby Stereo audio.

Photo Gallery

    There are a series of inset stills here of scenes from the film.

Cast & Crew Filmographies

    There are filmographies here for:

More From Palace Films

    There are four trailers for other Palace Films releases:

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    The R1 release includes:

but apparently only has the:

as an extra.

    It would seem that the R2 (which is identical to ours) wins out on extras, but not with the sound. If extras are important to you, go with our version. If you want the good sound for this movie, which would probably add quite a bit, go for R1. It makes this one hard to call, but I think I will lean to R4 due to our voluminous extras by comparison.

Summary

    My Life Without Me is in some ways a bleak film, but also an oddly uplifting film. Affecting and unassuming, it doesn’t play to manipulate its audience and instead works on a more subtle level. Outstanding stuff.

    Video is a little soft, but otherwise faultless.

    The 2.0 Dolby Digital Stereo track is somewhat limited, but suffices for a film of this nature.

    The extras are good, but not overwhelmingly special.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Edward McKenzie (I am Jack's raging bio...)
Thursday, March 03, 2005
Review Equipment
DVDPanasonic DVD-RV31A-S, using S-Video output
DisplayBeko 28" (16x9). This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver.
AmplificationMarantz SR7000
SpeakersEnergy - Front, Rear, Centre & Subwoofer

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