MY LIFE WITHOUT ME is one of those American made Indies that rekindles faith that we DO know how to make these small, character driven films that have the courage to make a social statement or two and still be wholly entertaining. Isabel Coixet is the creator here and she has assembled a cast that combines highly experienced professionals with actors less well known and makes an ensemble movie that works on every level. There is no giving away the plot in this outing, as from the very first words uttered you know that you are going to 'live through' the dying process of Ann, the perfect mother and wife who incidentally has advanced metastatic ovarian cancer when she first visits her doctor for nausea. Sarah Polley creates a believable lead, holding back the gush and the devastation that accompany her discovery, and instead gives us a young woman who makes a 'list of things to do before I die' and then proceeds on with her life and its new order until she does indeed die. Along the way we get to know her husband Don (played with wit, sensuality, and empathy by Scott Speedman), her co-worker - the ever-dieting Laurie (Amanda Plummer), her assignation lover Lee (Mark Rufallo, always growing as an actor), her mother (Deborah Harry), her hairdresser (Maria de Medeiros), her father (Alfred Molina in a brief but perfectly acted cameo), and a new friend Ann (Leonor Watling - watch this actress...). The story borders on morose but never quite crosses over and it is to Coixet's credit that what could have been a sloppy soap opera outing proves to be a lesson on the value of living. An excellent film on all counts.