7.9/10
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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.

Director:

David Attwood

Writer:

Alexander Masters (biography)
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3,998 ( 771)
6 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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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 ... Dainty Man
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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 »
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Details

Official Sites:

BBC [UK] | HBO [United States]

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

23 September 2007 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

Stuart: A Life Backwards 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 »
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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: What a load of bollocks! Who needs the queen?
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Brilliant in all possible ways
3 April 2012 | by Rodrigo_AmaroSee all my reviews

Here's an warming real life story transformed into a lovely TV film. It all starts when writer Alexander Masters (Benedict Cumberbatch) having plenty of available time on his hands decided to write the story of a homeless man he met while coordinating an campaign to release from prison the directors of a project that helps homeless people. The man in question is Stuart Shorter (Tom Hardy), an troubled and angered young man who has been arrested several different times, who suffers from a muscular dystrophy and lots of other problems as well but who happens to impress Alexander in a unusual way with some smartness, his humor and a great sense of friendship. And it is Stuart that gives Alexander the idea of writing his story in backwards. "Make it involving, do it like Tom Clancy. What murdered the little boy I was?" he says. And here begins the journey of finding who Stuart was and why he is the way he is now.

David Attwood directs "Stuart: A Life Backwards" with grace and wisdom, working with a depressive subject without sentimentalism and using of plenty of humor, some comic reliefs and a great deal of imagination throughout little animated segments (everytime Masters thinks of Stuart's ideas or picturing moments of his life). What separates this movie from many similar made by Hollywood is the honest portrayal of the main figure, without providing easy answers on why Stuart end up the way he ended. Just like the writer we keep putting the pieces together to form one and definitive Stuart, the man, but even with all the puzzle formed there's the sensation of looking at a distance and still we wouldn't comprehend the image quite right. A simple man, a tragic figure yet so intriguing, so interesting to follow. That's what captivated Alexander and that's what captivates us viewers.

And if the man with all his simplicity and his uniqueness in seeing the world is that fascinating on us is because the actor portraying him is all that as well. Well known for his action roles in pictures like "Rock N'Rolla" and "Inception" the great Tom Hardy gives his most impressive performance so far. Wheter angry, fragile, sick, eternally confused or just sharing a crazy thought, he makes all those feelings and reactions wonderfully. The mannerisms, the ticks, his slurred voice, a real character not an acting show, a perfect embodiment. And Mr. Cumberbacth doesn't get behind, he's very good and together they form a great team (as proved again in "Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy", even though there they a little bit opposite from each other).

"Stuart: A Life Backwards" is a good example of a film that doesn't need much to satisfy its viewers. You can watch over and over again, see new things on each view and see some positive and inspiring things. I highly recommend it. 9/10


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