Life is fucking complicated. That’s it, that’s our intro.
Disclaimer: I know this thing is based on a true story, but I will not base my review on how perfectly accurate to the real situation it may or may not be, but I will instead judge it as a movie… which it is. Disclaimer over.
Ladies and gentlemen… “Stuart: A Life Backwards”.
Aspiring writer Alexander Masters (Benedict Cumberbatch), through working with homeless people, meets Stuart (Tom Hardy), a homeless alcoholic with a traumatic past. And we follow the two as their lives evolve because of their unlikely friendship. This is a fascinating little drama, and I must say that I found myself enraptured by the story here. Now, the film’s structure isn’t exactly unique, it’s pretty straightforward in that regard. But it still feels quite fresh thanks to its fascinating subject and nuanced writing. It can often be quite heavy and unflinching when revealing what’s been going on in Stuart’s life, which might not be the most fun to watch… but man, it really adds to the experience. The story here is nuanced, heartwarming, heartbreaking, and simply great.
The characters in this are flawed, layered, fascinating, and feel very real. Tom Hardy plays Stuart, the eponymous character. He is an alcoholic with a history of violence and drug usage. I won’t go into specifics, but it’s interesting to see the kind of personal journey Stuart goes through here. They really pull no punches with it all. And Tom Hardy is absolutely fantastic in the role, probably giving the best performance I’ve seen from him. Next we have Benedict Cumberbatch as Alexander, the man who more or less serves as the film’s narrator. He goes through a little bit of a personal arc too after he meets/befriends Stuart, and it’s pretty compelling, with Cumberbatch giving a damn good performance. We also get some supporting work from people like Nicola Duffett, Candis Nergaard, Trevor Sellers, and more, all doing well in their respective roles.
The score for the movie was composed by Rob Lane, and it was good. It’s not one of those scores that you’re gonna find yourself humming along to it, as it relies less on melody and more on heavy ambient sounds. But that’s okay, because it fits incredibly well within the movie, adding to the emotion of a lot of scenes.
Based on the book of the same name by Alexander Masters, “Stuart: A Life Backwards” is a made-for-tv movie co-produced by BBC and HBO, and was directed by David Attwood. And I think Attwood did a good job with it, really giving the movie a sort of fly on the wall feel to proceedings. There’s nothing flashy and movie-ish about his directing here, it really has a grounded and almost documentary-esque feel.
“Stuart: A Life Backwards” isn’t always easy to watch, but it is still one hell of a good drama. It has a great plot, really good characters, great performances, good music, and really good directing. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Stuart: A Life Backwards” is a 9,78/10. So it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.
My review of “Stuart: A Life Backwards”.
This movie kinda broke me.
3 thoughts on “Movie Review: Stuart: A Life Backwards (2007)”
A young Hardy, and Cumberbatch too. And I had never heard of it!
Thanks, Markus, I will look for this one.
Best wishes, Pete.
Just bought the DVD from Amazon, for less than £4!
I’m sooooooo glad you liked it. It was one of my fav movies that I just randomly caught once a few years back and was over the moon about. 🙂 And it seems so many people don’t know about it.