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Stuart: A Life Backwards (2007)

TV-MA | | Drama | TV Movie 23 September 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.


David Attwood


Alexander Masters (biography)
2,550 ( 400)
6 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »




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


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




TV-MA | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »


Official Sites:

BBC [UK] | HBO [United States]





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




Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Tom Hardy and Benedict Cumberbatch's first film together; they later starred together again in Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (2011). See more »


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 »


[Alexander plays a tape in his car that Stuart gave him]
Stuart Shorter: Hi Alexander. It's Stuart.
Alexander Masters: Hello, Stuart.
Stuart Shorter: ...I've had lots to drink and that. I can't help reflect, about my brother, and my brother's friend. And they didn't believe me. And they didn't care. And the abuse, being asked to do things that I wouldn't have thought possible that anyone, could ask of an eleven year old. I just head-butted. And head-butted, and head-butted. The more you speak, the more you disbelieve. And no one listened to any ...
See more »

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User Reviews

It's good even after repeated viewings
30 September 2009 | by ThrowntoRealitySee all my reviews

The first time I saw this film was actually just a coincidence. The movie that I was supposed to watch in the first place was broadcast an hour later than it stood in the paper, so when I turned on the channel I for some reason stopped zapping around and watched the film.

Afterwards I wasn't disappointed at neither the news paper or the film itself - I'm actually more than glad that there was a printing error on just that particular day! Otherwise I probably wouldn't have known about it! Both Cumberbatch and Hardy are superb in their roles, and the rest of the cast are also very convincing. It feels like they actually are the actual persons they represent and not just actors, which is rare in many today's regular movies.

So if you haven't watched it, see it! I loved it the first time I saw it and after eight times I still do. This drama-documentary is highly recommended.

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