Site created 12/15/97.
review added: 5/3/01
1993 (2001) - Columbia
review by Greg Suarez of
The Digital Bits
Disc Ratings (Video/Audio/Extras):
Specs and Features
117 mins, PG-13, letterboxed widescreen (1.85:1), 16x9 enhanced,
full frame (1.33:1), dual-sided, single-layered, Amaray keep case
packaging, theatrical trailers (for My
Life, The Deep End of the
Ocean and Philadelphia),
talent files, film-themed menu screens, scene access (28 chapters),
languages: English (DD 2.0), French and Spanish (DD Mono),
subtitles: English, French and Spanish, Closed Captioned
let me just live long enough to see my child."
During most of the early to mid '90s I worked at the local
Cineplex. Dozens, if not hundreds, of films came and went throughout
my tenure, yet the events surrounding a few of them remain vivid in
my mind. One of them, My Life,
had patrons - both men and women alike - crying like little children
during the closing credits more than any other film we showed while
I was there, including Schindler's List.
Bob Jones (Michael Keaton) is a high-powered, West coast executive,
with what seems to be the perfect life. He has a beautiful wife, a
gorgeous house, and a BMW. Bob even has a son on the way, which he
and his wife Gail (Nicole Kidman) are very excited about. Except Bob
has been diagnosed with terminal cancer, and his days are numbered.
Sounds depressing, doesn't it? Surprisingly, the film really isn't
that much of a downer. If you look beneath the surface, you'll find
messages of hope and even some humor, although I wouldn't go so far
as to call this a comedy. My Life
is the story of how Bob prepares not for his death, but for the
birth of his son, and his son's future without him. By creating home
movies, Bob is able to teach his child how to shave, shake hands
like a man, play basketball and many other father-son activities
that Bob knows he will miss out on. Along the way, Bob must also
make amends with his estranged parents and brother.
My Life is a touching film in
many ways and, yes, it can be sad at times. But its messages of
forgiveness, love and the importance of family heartily outweigh the
tragedy the film is built around.
If this film has a fault, it's that sometimes it gets too sappy and
manipulative, almost as if the filmmakers are trying to physically
milk tears out of the eyes of the audience. Writer/director Bruce
Joel Rubin also penned Ghost,
so he had some practice writing slushy dramas. The saving grace of
My Life is that it has more
substance than Ghost, and
several valuable lessons to teach. The role of Bob Jones fits
Michael Keaton like a glove. I can't think of many other actors that
could have succeeded as well as Keaton here, with his spontaneous
humor and decent dramatic ability, punctuated by the sincerity of
his delivery. Nicole Kidman, on the other hand, while not bad in
this film, just seems like she wasn't sure how to play the
character. Kidman sort of rolls through the film without much of a
direction, but still manages an acceptable performance. I found it
interesting that while everyone in this movie has such a hard time
accepting Bob's situation, Bob is the only one taking it like a man.
And he's the poor bastard who's dying! At any rate,
My Life is a nice little film
despite its flaws. And no, I'm not ashamed to admit that the ending
had me a bit misty.
The 1.85:1 anamorphic picture is above average. Colors are
accurate, compression artifacting is kept to a minimum and edge
enhancement is not a problem. The only issue is that, as much of
this film was shot with soft filters, the image on DVD can sometimes
seem just a bit too soft. A full frame version can also be found on
the B-side of the disc, if anyone cares. The Dolby Digital 2.0
Surround soundtrack is one of the best non-5.1 tracks I've heard in
a long time. The soundstage is full, with the rear speakers used for
frequent ambient effects, and dialog always sounds clear and
spatially accurate. The best part of the sound is John Barry's
hauntingly beautiful score. The music sounds rich and deep, with
expansion to the surrounds further enhancing the experience.
On the extras front, you'll find talent files and theatrical
trailers for My Life,
The Deep End of the Ocean and
Philadelphia. And that's all.
My Life might be sappy -
sometimes too sappy - but it's a touching film that has some
meaningful and important messages to share. And Michael Keaton
couldn't have turned in a better performance. With a fair SRP of
$19.95, the disc is worth a look despite the lack of extras. And if
you watch, don't be afraid to let it all out at the end. Trust me...
you wouldn't be the first.