7.9/10
7,535
21 user

Stuart: A Life Backwards (2007)

A writer takes a backwards look at the life of his unlikely friend Stuart, a homeless alcoholic who experienced a traumatic event in his childhood.

Director:

David Attwood

Writer:

Alexander Masters (biography)
Reviews
Popularity
2,322 ( 52)
6 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »

Photos

Learn more

More Like This 

The Take (2009)
Crime | Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 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
Short | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 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
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
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
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
London Road (2015)
Musical | Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.3/10 X  

When five prostitutes are found dead in their community, residents of London Road in Ipswich, Suffolk come together to process the events and revitalize the community.

Director: Rufus Norris
Stars: Olivia Colman, Clare Burt, Rosalie Craig
Lawless (2012)
Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

Set in Depression-era Franklin County, Virginia, a trio of bootlegging brothers are threatened by a new special deputy and other authorities angling for a cut of their profits.

Director: John Hillcoat
Stars: Tom Hardy, Shia LaBeouf, Guy Pearce
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
Sucker Punch (2008)
Action
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5/10 X  

Ray 'Harley' Davidson is a hustler. With flash clothes and a fast mouth, Harley lives life in the fast lane. With his passion for all things gambling, money runs like water through Harley's... See full summary »

Director: Malcolm Martin
Stars: Gordon Alexander, Antonio Fargas, Ian Freeman
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 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
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Benedict Cumberbatch ... Alexander Masters
Tom Hardy ... Stuart Shorter
Nicola Duffett ... Judith
Claire-Louise Cordwell Claire-Louise Cordwell ... Karen
Edna Doré Edna Doré ... Gran
Candis Nergaard ... Sophie
Joanna Maude Joanna Maude ... Ruth
Trevor Sellers ... John
Barbara Barnes Barbara Barnes ... Wintercomfort Secretary
Hugh Armstrong ... Old Drunk
George Anton George Anton ... Dangerous Ginger
Dominic Kemp Dominic Kemp ... Academic Man
Shenagh Govan ... Bookish Woman
Caroline Parker Caroline Parker ... Deaf Jackie
Richard Cant 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:

View content advisory »
Edit

Details

Official Sites:

BBC [UK] | HBO [United States]

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

23 September 2007 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

Stjuart: Zivot Unatraske See more »

Filming Locations:

Norfolk, England, UK See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
See full technical specs »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Tom Hardy and Benedict Cumberbatch's first film together; they later starred together again in Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (2011). 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: [Talking to local MP] ... and hence... therefore... furthermore, more deaths.
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

A Rare, Droll Film About Human Diversity And The Things We All Share
24 September 2007 | by Afzal-s2007See 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.


51 of 55 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 21 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Stream Trending Movies With Prime Video

Enjoy a night in with these popular movies available to stream now with Prime Video.

Start your free trial



Recently Viewed