My Life Without Me is a bleak little film set in the grey, rainy climbs of Vancouver about Ann (Sarah Polley), a 23-year-old mother of two with an unemployed husband (Scott Speedman), an incarcerated father and a night time janitorial job at a university, who lives in a trailer in her difficult mother's (Deborah Harry) backyard. Things go from mundane to excruciating in Ann's life when she learns that she has a terminal illness and a few short months to live. Ann keeps the information to herself, but begins to prepare for her demise by really living for the first time. Among other things, she starts an affair with an oddball loner named Lee (Mark Ruffalo). Obviously, this isn't the cheeriest film, but unlike so many similarly themed stories, it remains to its last refreshingly unsentimental. The dialogue is sparse and effective, save for some first-person voiceover monologues, which are a tad overwritten. Director Isabel Coixet shows the material world surrounding Ann to be cold, often antiseptic and always unrelentingly dismal. However, the people portrayed in the film contrast this with their warmth and humanity, even in the most undesirable situations. Sarah Polley does a good job of remaining tough and determined in the lead role and the supporting cast are universally talented, especially Blondie's Deborah Harry in the role of Ann's embittered mother, and Julian Richings as Ann's quirky doctor. (Alliance Atlantis)