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As Mark Twain once said, 'Truth Is Stranger Than Fiction', and that is
certainly the case in Stuart: A Life Backwards.
A BBC Drama written by Alexander Masters, it is based on his acclaimed
account of the real life of Stuart Shorter, a self-harming drug addict,
career criminal (with a long history of violence), who is also homeless
and suffers from muscular dystrophy.
This film, made for BBC TV, directed by veteran filmmaker David
Attwood, is a dramatisation which skillfully and sinuously reconstructs
the events that culminated in Alexander Masters publishing Stuart's
unconventional biography. In an early scene, Stuart provides Alexander
with the insight into how to write his unconventional book, 'Do it
backwards...Like a murder mystery...what murdered the boy I was?' So
Alexander sets out in this mode, trying to piece together the
depressing, shocking trajectory of Stuart's life. But, unexpected to
both men, in the process Stuart and Alexander become part of each
other's life, transgressing socio-cultural boundaries and evolving a
genuine, if eccentric, friendship.
This drama, unlike the majority of films based on extreme lives, does
not simplify its subject, reducing its characters to two-dimensions
eliciting cheap sentimentality. The characters in Stuart: A Life
Backwards are not stripped of their complexities. Rather, they evince
depth and subtlety. Stuart is not glamorised or victimised. He is
vulgar, unfair, shockingly abusive, as well as sensitive, understanding
and insightful. Nor is Masters made into a stock supporting character.
He is at times the clear victim of middle class culture shock and has
to fight his tendency to condescend. In short, they seem honest
recreations of human beings.
Tom Hardy engages as Stuart, giving a tough and intelligent
performance, and recreates his character's extreme physical traits with
little mannerism. Benedict Cumberbatch also rises to his own, different
challenge as Stuart's friend and witness with understatement and
Stuart: A Life Backwards is a rare, droll, moving film that grows to
understand the maddening complexity of life and subsequent near
hopelessness in trying to find the factors behind someone's life.
Instead, Stuart: A Life Backwards is a film about human diversity and
the things we all share.
Tags for Stuart A Life Backwards Full Movie
, Claire-Louise Cordwell
, Nicola Duffett
, Tom Hardy
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