My Life Without Me

My Life Without Me is a 2003 Canadian drama film directed by Isabel Coixet and starring Sarah Polley, Mark Ruffalo, Scott Speedman, and Leonor Watling. Based on the book Pretending the Bed Is a Raft by Nanci Kincaid, it tells a story of a 23-year-old woman, with a husband and two daughters, who finds out she is going to die soon. The film was produced by Pedro Almodóvar's production company, El Deseo.

My Life Without Me
My life without me ver2.jpg
U.S. theatrical poster
Directed byIsabel Coixet
Produced by
Written byIsabel Coixet
Based onPretending the Bed Is a Raft by Nanci Kincaid
Music byAlfonso Vilallonga
CinematographyJean-Claude Larrieu
Edited byLisa Robison
Distributed bySony Pictures Classics
Release date
December 17, 2003
Running time
106 minutes
  • Canada
  • Spain
Budget$2.5 million [1]
Box office$12.3 million [2]


Ann (Sarah Polley) is a hard-working 23-year-old mother with two small daughters, an unemployed husband (Scott Speedman), a mother (Deborah Harry) who sees her life as a failure, and a jailed father whom she has not seen for ten years. Her life changes dramatically when, during a medical checkup following a collapse, she is diagnosed with metastatic ovarian cancer and told that she has only two months to live.

Deciding not to tell anyone of her condition and using the cover of anemia, Ann makes a list of things to do before she dies.[3] She decides to change her hair, record birthday messages for the girls for every year until they're 18, and tries to set up her husband with another woman.

Feeling a longing to experience a life that was never available to her, she seeks out a man to experience how it feels to be in a sexual relationship with someone other than her husband. Her experiment ends up taking an emotional toll when she meets with a man named Lee, who ends up madly in love with her and is left heartbroken when Ann breaks it off with him. He meets with her one last time and says that he will do anything to make her happy, taking care of her daughters and even finding her husband a new job. She ends their relationship and never tells him that she is dying.

At the end of the film, Ann records a message to her husband, telling him that she loves him, and another one to Lee, telling him the same. She then leaves all tapes that she has recorded with her doctor, asking him to deliver them after her death.



Box officeEdit

The film was released on September 26, 2003 and ran for 12 weeks. It grossed $400,948 in the USA and $9,326,006 from markets in other countries, for a worldwide total of $9,726,954.[4]

Critical responseEdit

My Life Without Me received generally positive reviews from film critics. Review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes reports a 65% approval rating, with an average rating of 6.32/10, based on 100 reviews. The site's consensus reads: "Sarah Polley keeps this production afloat with her moving performance".[5] Metacritic, another review aggregator, gives the film an average score of 57/100 based on 31 critics, indicatind "mixed or average reviews".[6]


The film won many international and festival awards, including the Genie Award for Best Actress (Polley), the Goya Award for Best Adapted Screenplay (Coixet), and Best Song ("Humans Like You" by Chop Suey).

Award Date of ceremony Category Recipient(s) Result Ref(s)
European Film Awards 6 December 2003 Best Film Isabel Coixet Nominated [7]
Best Director Nominated
Genie Awards 1 May 2004 Best Actress Sarah Polley Won [8]
Goya Awards 31 January 2004 Best Film Isabel Coixet Nominated [9][10]
Best Director Nominated
Best Adapted Screenplay Won
Best Actress Sarah Polley Nominated
Best Original Song Chop Suey Won


  1. ^ "My Life Without Me". Retrieved Jan 14, 2020 – via
  2. ^ "My Life Without Me (2003) - Financial Information". The Numbers. Retrieved Jan 14, 2020.
  3. ^ "My Life Without Me". Archived from the original on 2016-03-16.
  4. ^ My Life Without Me at Box Office Mojo
  5. ^ "My Life Without Me (2003)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved November 21, 2019.
  6. ^ "My Life Without Me Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved November 21, 2019.
  7. ^ Dawtrey, Adam (7 November 2003). "Marks for 'Lenin'". Variety. Retrieved 4 May 2018.
  8. ^ The Canadian Press (2 May 2004). "Barbarian Invasions is gem of Genies". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved 21 April 2017.
  9. ^ Green, Jennifer (10 December 2003). "Spain's Goya Award nominations announced". Screen Daily. Retrieved 21 April 2017.
  10. ^ Green, Jennifer (1 February 2004). "Take My Eyes takes Spanish prize". Screen Daily. Retrieved 21 April 2017.

External linksEdit