My Life Without Me [2003]

Genre: Drama, Romance
It sounds like Love Story, but with an intriguing twist. 23-year-old wife and mom Sarah Polley has spent her entire life sacrificing for others and living on the economic fringe; when she discovers she has only a few months to live, she resolves to keep the news secret. In her remaining time, she plots a course for various unfinished plans and deferred dreams: write a journal, leave future messages for her kids, make a stranger (Mark Ruffalo) fall in love with her. Obviously, the danger of sentimentality lurks in director Isabel Coixet's concept, and the film does have a few soggy moments. Some critics lost patience with the main character's seeming selfishness (a good post-movie conversation starter). Yet there is something powerful in her insistence on claiming a small piece of existence exclusively for herself. Polley (Guinevere) gives a typically honest performance, with fine support by Scott Speedman and Deborah Harry. --Robert Horton

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