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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)
2,624 ( 912)
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 ... 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 »


Stuart Shorter: Know what, Alexander? I don't know myself what got me. But honest, sometimes... I think I'm the child of the Devil. I let the Devil in. Now I can't get him out. I tried... burning him out and cutting him out. He don't take no notice. Why should he? He don't wanna be homeless.
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Great film!!! Watch it!!!
29 October 2008 | by d-takerSee all my reviews

This is the first time I've commented on IMDb but this film deserves to be seen by more people so I thought I'd give it another positive review. To begin with I thought Tom Hardy, who played Stuart, turned in an excellent performance and I'm sure we'll see plenty more from him in the future. Despite being a knife-wielding, psychopathic, booze hound even from the beginning, I felt empathy for his character, its hard not to. All of the acting is as good as the script allows but Hardys performance just shines through. However its really the story, told backwards, thats the reason this is such a enchanting film. Having read the book a couple of days ago i can also add this film, refreshingly, is very true to, and just as good as, the book. I've no idea if it was on TV or has been released on DVD, but if you get the chance watch this film, its thought provoking, heart wrenching, enthralling, funny, stomach churning, touching and it will be an eye opener to a lot of people.


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