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Columbia TriStar Home Video presents

My Life (1993)

"It's not enough to marry goodness, you have to find it in yourself."- Mr. Ho (Haing S. Ngor)

Stars: Michael Keaton, Nicole Kidman
Other Stars: Bradley Whitford, Queen Latifah, Haing S. Ngor
Director: Bruce Joel Rubin

MPAA Rating: PG-13 for (mature subject matter)
Run Time: 01h:56m:47s
Release Date: 2001-04-24
Genre: drama

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer
C+ B+A-B+ D


DVD Review

From a distance, My Life looks to be just another entry in the long line of sappy and predictable stories about love, life and ultimately, death. Anyone who has seen countless other films similar like this knows how the story will end and in what order events will happen to the main characters. Yet, My Life is surprisingly heartfelt and filled with emotion, even though we know five minutes into the two hour film how it will inevitably end.

Bob Jones (Keaton) is dying of kidney cancer that has spread to his lungs. Knowing that he has only a few precious months left, he begins to make a series of videotapes for his unborn child. In these tapes Bob talks about life and how to handle some of the more difficult tasks such as shaving, or how to look good when entering a room. With his wife Gail (Kidman) holding out hope that Bob will get to see his son, she persuades him to see a Chinese healer named Mr. Ho (Ngor), whose advice for Bob is to let go of all the pain and harshness. This leads Bob to not only make the tapes but also reexamine his life in his last days on earth.

It is unfortunate that My Life, a film that has such an original central premise, ultimately falls victim to several Hollywood plot devices. With an abundance of formulaic explanations about life and many heavy-handed moments, My Life loses the potential to be a terrific film and ends up as nothing more than a bit above average.

Director and screenwriter Bruce Joel Rubin (Ghost) has a way of showing that the effects of death on those left behind can be as painful as anything else on earth. In My Life, he takes it up a notch by drawing the viewer into liking Bob so much that, even though we know that he will eventually succumb to the cancer, we are there along with him, fighting it off. The downside to Rubin's direction is that in the final fifteen minutes everything that has been crafted so carefully gets thrown aside for a melodramatic and overly "sappy" ending. Rubin also stumbles in showing a change in Bob's life throughout the course of the film. We know that Bob is changing as the end draws closer, but there aren't enough moments showing Bob before he had the illness to make us really care.

It seems as though that I am in the minority with my opinion that Michael Keaton is one of the most underrated actors working today. From films like Beetlejuice and Clean and Sober as well as the classic Mr. Mom, Keaton always impresses while he is on screen. Much like his work in Clean and Sober he creates a performance that is both humorous and heartwarming at the same time. His best moments are those that play to his cocky sense of comedy . Keaton has a real charm in the scenes of Bob's video instructions to his unborn child and it is his performance that makes the film better than most other films in the genre. Kidman does a nice job as Gail, a woman who stands by her husband until the very end. It is a nice performance but in the end the film belongs to Keaton.

Rating for Style: C+
Rating for Substance: B+


Image Transfer

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 One Two
Aspect Ratio1.85:1 - Widescreen 1.33:1 - Full Frame
Original Aspect Ratioyes no
Anamorphicyes no

Image Transfer Review: Presented in both the original 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen ratio as well as a full-frame version, My Life looks fantastic. The muted tans and browns of Los Angeles come off looking great; sharpness and detail are each spot on. Edge enhancement is a bit of a problem in the film, although the soft look of the picture at times makes it hard to not notice the edge enhancement problems. Black levels are deep with very little grain and pixelation is never a problem. This is a very good transfer from Columbia TriStar.

Image Transfer Grade: A-

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0English, Spanish, Frenchyes

Audio Transfer Review: Presented in 2.0 Dolby Surround, My Life is a surprisingly active film in terms of audio. Be it the rumble of thunder in chapter 10 or the ambience of an amusement park, the mix is constantly at a high level of quality. Dialogue is easy to understand and is never flat, and John Barry's melodramatic score is reproduced beautifully in the left and right channels.

French and Spanish Dolby 2.0 tracks are also included.

Audio Transfer Grade: B+ 

Disc Extras

Static menu
Scene Access with 28 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English, French, and Spanish with remote access
Cast and Crew Biographies
Cast and Crew Filmographies
1 Original Trailer(s)
2 Other Trailer(s) featuring The Deep End Of The Ocean and Philadelphia
Packaging: Amaray
1 Disc
2-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extras Review: Trailers for My Life, The Deep End Of The Ocean and Philadelphia, as well as talent files make up the extra features for My Life.

Extras Grade: D

Final Comments

My Life is a good film that is unfortunately dragged down by a cliché-ridden final fifteen minutes. The performances are each very well done with Keaton's undoubtedly the best. The price and lack of features keep me from recommending this disc unless you are a fan of the film, but it is worth a rental.

Kevin Clemons 2001-04-27