8.0/10
4,812
18 user

Stuart: A Life Backwards (2007)

TV-MA | | Drama | TV Movie 23 September 2007
A writer (Cumberbatch) takes a backwards look at the life of his unlikely friend Stuart (Hardy), a homeless alcoholic who experienced a traumatic event in his childhood.

Director:

Writer:

(biography)
Reviews
Popularity
1,981 ( 26)
6 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »
Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

The Take (TV Mini-Series 2009)
Crime | Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

Based upon the novel by Martina Cole, this TV series is mostly about Freddie Jackson, portrayed by Tom Hardy, who is just out of prison. He has the right connections and now he's ready to use them.

Stars: Shaun Evans, Tom Hardy, Charlotte Riley
Wuthering Heights (TV Mini-Series 2009)
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

Foundling Heathcliff is raised by the wealthy Earnshaws in Yorkshire but in later life launches a vendetta against the family.

Stars: Tom Hardy, Charlotte Riley, Andrew Lincoln
Bronson (2008)
Action | Biography | Crime
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

A young man who was sentenced to seven years in prison for robbing a post office ends up spending three decades in solitary confinement. During this time, his own personality is supplanted by his alter-ego, Charles Bronson.

Director: Nicolas Winding Refn
Stars: Tom Hardy, Kelly Adams, Luing Andrews
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

Sex and love. Some seek it, some need it, some spurn it and some pay for it, but we're all involved in it. Set on one afternoon on Hampstead Heath, London, the film investigates the minutiae of seven couples. What makes us tick?

Director: Ed Blum
Stars: Holly Aird, Eileen Atkins, Hugh Bonneville
Locke (2013)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

Ivan Locke, a dedicated family man and successful construction manager, receives a phone call on the eve of the biggest challenge of his career that sets in motion a series of events that threaten his carefully cultivated existence.

Director: Steven Knight
Stars: Tom Hardy, Olivia Colman, Ruth Wilson
Oliver Twist (TV Mini-Series 2007)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

The adventures of the orphaned Oliver Twist in Victorian London.

Stars: William Miller, Adam Arnold, Ryan Barr
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

Two brothers take a road trip through Scotland to discover the inheritance their late father left them.

Director: Charles Henri Belleville
Stars: Fraser Sivewright, Tim Barrow, Imogen Toner
The Virgin Queen (TV Mini-Series 2005)
Biography | Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

The Virgin Queen explores the full sweep of Elizabeth's life: from her days of fear as a potential victim of her sister's terror; through her great love affair with Robert Dudley; into her ... See full summary »

Stars: Anne-Marie Duff, Sienna Guillory, Ian Hart
Meadowlands (TV Series 2007)
Drama | Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

A married couple and their teenage twins move to Meadowlands, a friendly and seemingly safe suburban town, to start a new life. Here, they will soon realize that secrets and mysteries are plentiful, and past is a difficult thing to bury.

Stars: David Morrissey, Lucy Cohu, Ralph Brown
Third Star (2010)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

James and his three closest lifelong friends go on an ill-advised trip to the stunning coastal area of Barafundle Bay in West Wales. What follows is a touching and comical adventure dealing with friendship, heroism and love.

Director: Hattie Dalton
Stars: Tom Burke, Benedict Cumberbatch, JJ Feild
Short | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

Dan's decision to run away and join the French Foreign Legion has far reaching implications for his younger brother, Keith.

Director: Greg Williams
Stars: Tom Hardy, Ben Macleod, Gillian Bevan
Batter Up (Video 2005)
Short | Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

One inning in the life of a bottom of the basepath movie producer and his quest for that one perfect pitch he can ride out to the cheap seats.

Director: Ren Blood
Stars: David Beeler, Brent Burninghan, Cheryl Dunlap
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
Judith
Claire-Louise Cordwell ...
Karen
Edna Doré ...
Gran
...
Sophie
Joanna Maude ...
Ruth
Trevor Sellers ...
John
Barbara Barnes ...
Wintercomfort Secretary
Hugh Armstrong ...
Old Drunk
George Anton ...
Dangerous Ginger
Dominic Kemp ...
Academic Man
...
Bookish Woman
Caroline Parker ...
Deaf Jackie
Richard Cant ...
Dainty Man
Edit

Storyline

When Stuart Shorter - a homeless alcoholic with a violent past - meets writer and charity worker Alexander Masters, they strike up an unlikely friendship. As Alexander learns more about Stuart's complicated life and traumatic childhood, he asks if he can write his story and Stuart advises him to tell the story backwards, so that it's "More exciting - like a Tom Clancy murder mystery". As their remarkable alliance develops, Stuart gradually recounts his life story in reverse, his resilient personality and dry sense of humour giving the story an almost tragi-comic edge. Through post office heists, attempts at suicide and spells inside numerous institutions, Alexander is given a glimpse into a totally alien world and begins to understand how Stuart's life spiralled so badly out of control. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

TV-MA | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
Edit

Details

Official Sites:

|

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

23 September 2007 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

Stjuart: Zivot Unatraske  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

The Post Office featured in 1979 and 1993 scenes is the former Post Office (now an empty shop) at Fen Ditton, near Cambridge. See more »

Goofs

When Alexander lets Stuart into his house for the first time (about 7-8 minutes into the film) the shadow of the camera falls on the door as he closes it. See more »

Quotes

Stuart Shorter: [pointing to a book titled 'Mauve'] This one... what's this one about?
Alexander Masters: The colour mauve.
Stuart Shorter: How do they fucking get away with this?
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

A Rare, Droll Film About Human Diversity And The Things We All Share
24 September 2007 | by (London, England) – See all my reviews

As Mark Twain once said, 'Truth Is Stranger Than Fiction', and that is certainly the case in Stuart: A Life Backwards.

A BBC Drama written by Alexander Masters, it is based on his acclaimed account of the real life of Stuart Shorter, a self-harming drug addict, career criminal (with a long history of violence), who is also homeless and suffers from muscular dystrophy.

This film, made for BBC TV, directed by veteran filmmaker David Attwood, is a dramatisation which skillfully and sinuously reconstructs the events that culminated in Alexander Masters publishing Stuart's unconventional biography. In an early scene, Stuart provides Alexander with the insight into how to write his unconventional book, 'Do it backwards...Like a murder mystery...what murdered the boy I was?' So Alexander sets out in this mode, trying to piece together the depressing, shocking trajectory of Stuart's life. But, unexpected to both men, in the process Stuart and Alexander become part of each other's life, transgressing socio-cultural boundaries and evolving a genuine, if eccentric, friendship.

This drama, unlike the majority of films based on extreme lives, does not simplify its subject, reducing its characters to two-dimensions eliciting cheap sentimentality. The characters in Stuart: A Life Backwards are not stripped of their complexities. Rather, they evince depth and subtlety. Stuart is not glamorised or victimised. He is vulgar, unfair, shockingly abusive, as well as sensitive, understanding and insightful. Nor is Masters made into a stock supporting character. He is at times the clear victim of middle class culture shock and has to fight his tendency to condescend. In short, they seem honest recreations of human beings.

Tom Hardy engages as Stuart, giving a tough and intelligent performance, and recreates his character's extreme physical traits with little mannerism. Benedict Cumberbatch also rises to his own, different challenge as Stuart's friend and witness with understatement and subtlety.

Stuart: A Life Backwards is a rare, droll, moving film that grows to understand the maddening complexity of life and subsequent near hopelessness in trying to find the factors behind someone's life. Instead, Stuart: A Life Backwards is a film about human diversity and the things we all share.


42 of 45 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Where can i find it? limeatron
On BBC2 Sept 23 - UK HappyToyBoat
Trailer characterslong
tragic story of a tortured man crucified_for_your_sins
DVD Release Announcement... revfilms-2
photography paddy-2
Discuss Stuart: A Life Backwards (2007) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?