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My Life Without Me (2003)

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



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16 wins & 15 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Ann's Mother (as Deborah Harry)
Kenya Jo Kennedy ...
Esther García ...
Woman who does nails
Camille Martinez ...
(as Camille Martínez)
María Cami
Deanne Henry ...
Nurse #1


Ann, 23 years old, lives a modest life with her two kids and her husband in a trailer in her mother's garden. Her life takes a dramatic turn, when her doctor tells her that she has uterine cancer and only two months to live. She compiles a list of things to do before she dies. Written by Moritz Muehlenhoff <jmm@inutil.org>

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Drama | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:






Release Date:

7 March 2003 (Spain)  »

Also Known As:

Mi vida sin mí  »


Box Office


€2,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

€225,800 (Spain), 9 March 2003, Limited Release

Opening Weekend USA:

$40,515, 28 September 2003, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$395,592, 14 December 2003
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


The reoccurring clip of the man at the side of the road using crystal glasses as musical instruments is actually going back to the music video for one of the featured songs in the film's background score. "Humans Like You" by Chop Suey had an official music video which featured the same figure playing with crystal glasses in it. This confused a lot of viewers when My Life Without Me was first released, because it wasn't ever explained to the audience. See more »


When Ann the neighbor is talking about the conjoined twins, she says one was a girl and the other was a boy. Conjoined twins are formed from the same egg, so they are always the same gender. See more »


Ann: No-one's normal, Mom. No such thing as normal people.
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Referenced in 10 pelis (2011) See more »


Senza Fine
Written by Gino Paoli
Performed by Gino Paoli
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Death Becomes Her
19 October 2003 | by See all my reviews

"My Life Without Me" shows off Sarah Polley's beauty and acting that has been clear to her fans since her "Avonlea" days.

In writer/director Isabel Coixet's first English language feature, Polley takes what could have been a drippy, maudlin story of a dying young mother and turns it into a clear-eyed path to accepting early death and taking charge of the hand that's dealt you. This delicate view is in sharp contrast to Hollywood tripe like "Sweet November" where beautiful healthy women in denial die of Movie Star Disease.

When Polley's "Ann" gets her death sentence from a doctor who can't even look her in the eyes, she resolves, among other items on her "To Do Before I Die" list, to tell it like it is -- but finds that instead everyone around her spills out their inner-most problems and she doesn't get to, including an amusing effort to get a Milli Vanilli-loving hairdresser to cut her hair like she wants it. Perhaps it's because she chooses to lie to them about her imminent demise. Not only does Polley get to use her full-fledged Canadian accent complete with "Eh"s, but until I read it on her imdb bio I didn't know that when she was 11 Polley lost her mother to cancer, so she must have had personal experience to draw on.

The imdb credits do not include that the script is based on a short story by Nanci Kincaid, "Pretending the Bed is a Raft," with additional inspiration from a poem about a young women's death by John Berger, who is thanked prominently in the credits. The symbolism of Ann having met her husband at the last Nirvana concert is also played upon several times.

The music selections are lovely, both the romantic-sounding European ballads from one character's sister's DJ mix tape and the original music by Alfonso Vilallonga, that are poignant and keep out the schmaltz.

Polley's supporting actors are wonderful, from the lively children to Amanda Plummer, who has been MIA from films for a while, and Debbie Harry as the depressed mother.

There's a couple of resonances of the TV show "Felicity" as not only does "Ann" leave voiced-over audio tapes to her loved ones, but, yikes, even dying, "Ann" gets both gorgeous sensitive hunks Scott Speadmen and Mark Ruffalo to love her. It's effectively shown, though, that one was the love of an adolescence that ended too soon with parental responsibilities and the other of her too-short adulthood.

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