Reprinted from the Dec. 1993 issue of VP to accompany the review of the
Rated PG-13. Running time: 1 hour 57 min.
Our content ratings: Violence 0; Language 4; Sex/Nudity 2.
Our star rating (1-5): 5
Damn everything but the circus!
e. e. cummings
A good film for couples to see together, My Life will remind some of Love Story and other such end-of-life tales. Fortunately this one has Michael Keaton, whose excellent performance as Bob Jones prevents the pathos from sliding into bathos. His use of a camcorder to tell his yet-to-be-born son about himself provides many humorous moments, and also serves as a means for him to connect with his wife (Nicole Kidman) and his estranged family.
He has been running from his family in Detroit all his adult life. Moving as far away as possible to Los Angeles, he changes his Polish last name to Jones. His journey toward physical death actually becomes a journey toward life, of reconciliation and affirmation.
If you liked Field of Dreams, you should enjoy this story with a resurrection theme. There’s a colorful scene toward the end that called to mind a line from an e.e. cummings poem–“Damn everything but the circus!”
Until fairly recent times the church and society prepared people to face their death. Manuals were written on how to die; even the popular song “Jesus Loves Me” was part of a story about a dying girl, written in the 19th century to inspire and help children. My Life could serve a similar function for an adult or youth group today.
Look for: Signs of freedom and acceptance-Bob lets go of the bar on the roller coaster. The backyard “circus.”
For discussion: What is a miracle? How does what happens to Bob Jones contribute to your understanding of “miracle”?
Further food for thought: Bob’s comment “Dying is a hard way to learn about life!” Note the ending-instead of a fade to black screen there is a fade to white- any significance?
Sony Home Entertainment