Stuart: A Life Backwards - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Stuart: A Life Backwards Reviews

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½ September 15, 2014
Absolutely top performances from both Tom Hardy and Benedict Cumberbatch! One will find that earlier works around 2007 from Tom Hardy are amazing because he started to prove himself to be a chameleon and he can do any character he wants! This is truly a rather sad story as the audience will find a tragic trauma childhood affected Stuart for as long as one could imagine. Everything he did does not make one comfortable, yet it somehow warms you to learn that the unlikely friendship between Alexander and Stuart begins to become solid. Alexander likes Stuart because of his humour, intelligence, etc, which we would fail big to see from Stuart just by the look of him.
½ August 21, 2014
"My name is Psycho but you can call me Stuart if you want."

Before his breakout role in Bronson, Tom Hardy showed his true potential in a small made for TV film, Stuart A Life Backwards. He co-stared along another relatively unknown at the time, Benedict Cumberbatch (at least outside of Great Britain). These are two huge A-list actors today who have starred as villains in blockbusters like Star Trek Into Darkness and The Dark Knight Rises among many other great films. So I was immediately attracted to this film when I heard it starred these two actors. It is a biography of a troubled alcoholic and homeless man named Stuart(Tom Hardy) who establishes a friendship with a writer and charity worker named Alexander (Benedict Cumberbatch). We've seen these dramatic films exploring similar issues of unlikely friendships done before, but Stuart gives it a unique twist by telling the story beginning from the back. Because lets face it when we first meet someone like Stuart we are shocked at their current condition and we take little time to try to figure out what may have caused this strange behavior. We see who the person is at the present and by establishing a relationship we slowly begin to uncover things about their past, and that is exactly how Alexander presents Stuart to the audience. Stuart is a rather unconventional character, and Tom Hardy plays him brilliantly. He is an alcoholic who suffers from violent outbreaks. He also has suicide tendencies and suffers from muscular dystrophy which has taken its toll on him. But most of the time Stuart is a kind man with a dry sense of humor. He tells his story in a rather funny way adding a tragicomic touch to this film. Despite the strong performances from Cumberbatch and Hardy the film works mostly because of the way the film is narrated. As we learn more about Stuarts past we begin to sympathize with him and realize where he is coming from. It isn't a great film, but it is solid and it showed the true potential these lead actors had.

The film does feel a bit rushed at times and it suffers from trying to add a lot of information in only 90 minutes, making some scenes feel chopped and forced. Director David Attwood benefits mostly from this emotional true story and these two actors, who happened to be the main attraction for me and the reason why this film is getting some distribution currently on HBO. It isn't a perfect film, but it has a masterful physical performance delivered by Hardy who was just getting warmed up for his upcoming and breakout role in Bronson. I really loved the quirky approach the film took in telling this true story (which was actually based on the successful biography written by Alexander Masters), but it's far from being a perfect and memorable film. The animated scenes that Attwood decided to introduce to tell some parts of the story were a bit disturbing and took me out of the movie at times. But every time I was let down by these scenes, Tom Hardy showed up with another impressive scene and brought me right back in. It is a masterful performance and one that shows his unique talent as an actor. I am also thankful I watched this film with subtitles because sometimes it was difficult to understand what he was mumbling about, but it was still great voice work from his part. Cumberbatch played a more restricted character, but he also has some emotional scenes near the end where he proves he's a talented actor. It is a film worth checking out if you are a fan of these actors.
½ August 21, 2014
"My name is Psycho but you can call me Stuart if you want."

Before his breakout role in Bronson, Tom Hardy showed his true potential in a small made for TV film, Stuart A Life Backwards. He co-stared along another relatively unknown at the time, Benedict Cumberbatch (at least outside of Great Britain). These are two huge A-list actors today who have starred as villains in blockbusters like Star Trek Into Darkness and The Dark Knight Rises among many other great films. So I was immediately attracted to this film when I heard it starred these two actors. It is a biography of a troubled alcoholic and homeless man named Stuart(Tom Hardy) who establishes a friendship with a writer and charity worker named Alexander (Benedict Cumberbatch). We've seen these dramatic films exploring similar issues of unlikely friendships done before, but Stuart gives it a unique twist by telling the story beginning from the back. Because lets face it when we first meet someone like Stuart we are shocked at their current condition and we take little time to try to figure out what may have caused this strange behavior. We see who the person is at the present and by establishing a relationship we slowly begin to uncover things about their past, and that is exactly how Alexander presents Stuart to the audience. Stuart is a rather unconventional character, and Tom Hardy plays him brilliantly. He is an alcoholic who suffers from violent outbreaks. He also has suicide tendencies and suffers from muscular dystrophy which has taken its toll on him. But most of the time Stuart is a kind man with a dry sense of humor. He tells his story in a rather funny way adding a tragicomic touch to this film. Despite the strong performances from Cumberbatch and Hardy the film works mostly because of the way the film is narrated. As we learn more about Stuarts past we begin to sympathize with him and realize where he is coming from. It isn't a great film, but it is solid and it showed the true potential these lead actors had.

The film does feel a bit rushed at times and it suffers from trying to add a lot of information in only 90 minutes, making some scenes feel chopped and forced. Director David Attwood benefits mostly from this emotional true story and these two actors, who happened to be the main attraction for me and the reason why this film is getting some distribution currently on HBO. It isn't a perfect film, but it has a masterful physical performance delivered by Hardy who was just getting warmed up for his upcoming and breakout role in Bronson. I really loved the quirky approach the film took in telling this true story (which was actually based on the successful biography written by Alexander Masters), but it's far from being a perfect and memorable film. The animated scenes that Attwood decided to introduce to tell some parts of the story were a bit disturbing and took me out of the movie at times. But every time I was let down by these scenes, Tom Hardy showed up with another impressive scene and brought me right back in. It is a masterful performance and one that shows his unique talent as an actor. I am also thankful I watched this film with subtitles because sometimes it was difficult to understand what he was mumbling about, but it was still great voice work from his part. Cumberbatch played a more restricted character, but he also has some emotional scenes near the end where he proves he's a talented actor. It is a film worth checking out if you are a fan of these actors.
½ July 27, 2014
ok so Tom Hardy was really really good here
one of hidden gem movie :)
July 22, 2014
The only reason I'm giving it 3 stars is because of Tom Hardy. Overall it was ok, honestly if Tom Hardy hadn't of starred in it, I would of probably never of seen it. Even as a drug addicted homeless guy Tom Hardy was still really hot! There were some funny parts but really started to lose interest towards the end. It was Tom Hardy's "What's Eating Gilbert Grape".
July 22, 2014
pleasant enough at a purely surface level, but i couldn't help being deeply offended by this film. maybe i'm not in a position to have a valid opinion about this, having never had a relationship with a homeless or drug addicted person myself, but i found it absolutely baffling how no one in stuart's life made the slightest effort to help him. his family and alexander all sat back and chuckled wrily at his "antics" while stuart disintegrated before their eyes.
May 20, 2014
Really good performances by Cumberbatch and Hardy
April 24, 2014
Painful to watch but masterfully executed by Hardy.
February 23, 2014
Great movie cumberbatch really surprised me and Tom hardy is so talented its amazing to watch the story is incredible n it's so well acted I'd watch it again
February 5, 2014
A little offbeat, but amazing performances by both Benedict Cumberbatch and Tom Hardy before they were famous.
September 6, 2013
Tom Hardy is simply brilliant in this film!
½ July 25, 2013
Ummm
"The day I discovered violence"
½ June 2, 2013
Great performances by the two main actors! I went between laughter and pity the whole movie.
May 26, 2013
I was impressed by this two amazing talented actors: Benedict Cumberbatch and Tom Hardy, specially this last one. Why? Because he is "Stuart" and "Stuarts" life is disturbing but yet amazing somehow (it makes sense at the very ending, but if you connect the dots in the middle of the movie, you won't need to get to the end, unless you want to manifest your crying and laugh with Ben's character and cry again (spoiler? I did not spoil a thing). Anyway, 4 stars of 5. Why not 5/5? Is not because it is (was on TV) a TV movie (yes, TV), it's because of the violence (one of the main topics in this story/plot). Enjoy and HASTA LUEGO MES AMIS DU 7th L'ART! - May 26, 2013.
½ May 10, 2013
Essential viewing for the supposed cineaste. A rare slice
of superative British film making.... A very young Tom Hardy gives probably one of his best performance to date. Unfortunately, hard to find (it made for the BBC in 2007), but undoubtedly worth the effort.
½ March 29, 2013
'I prefer a bit of natural bounce myself.' - 'Hence, therefore, furthermore...' :D
March 14, 2013
Awesome! Love Tom Hardy even more!!!!
January 12, 2013
Funny, and touching.
December 28, 2012
[12/12] Ein sehr emotionaler und aufrüttelnder Film mit toller Besetzung.
December 20, 2012
Tom Hardy is absolutely phenomenal in this film. He really needs to start receiving the accolades that he so deserves.
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