My Life (film)
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Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Bruce Joel Rubin|
|Produced by||Hunt Lowry
Bruce Joel Rubin
|Written by||Bruce Joel Rubin|
Haing S. Ngor
|Music by||John Barry|
|Edited by||Richard Chew|
|Distributed by||Columbia Pictures (USA), Capella Films/Intl. (Intl)|
|Release date(s)||November 12, 1993|
|Running time||117 minutes|
|Box office||$27,484,464 (USA)|
Detroit, Michigan, 1963: Bob Ivanovich is a young boy, who prays one night for a circus in his backyard the next day after school. After school the next day, he runs home eagerly, followed by his friends. To his disappointment, no circus awaits. Angrily, Bob retreats to his closet in his room, his personal retreat space.
Thirty years later, Bob Jones (Keaton) now runs a Los Angeles public relations firm. He is happily married to Gail (Kidman), who is pregnant with their first child. Bob is horrified to learn that he has been diagnosed with a terminal illness (kidney cancer) and might not live to see their baby born.
Bob begins to make home movies, to immortalize himself, to be shown after his death to his son, so he'll know who his father was, showing him how to cook spaghetti, how to drive, etc. He also begins to visit a Chinese healer named Mr. Ho (Dr. Haing S. Ngor), who urges him to listen to his heart, which is calling him to forgive, and that life is always giving him invitations if he would but listen. At his wife's urging, they fly to his hometown of Detroit to attend the wedding of his brother Paul (Whitford). While in the area, Bob visits his childhood home. Also while there, they attempt to mend fences with his estranged family, which does not go well. Bob criticizes his brother for not moving to California like he did, and his father resents Bob moving thousands of miles away and changing his name.
Bob returns to California with a heavy heart, sadly saying to his wife, "This is my last trip home." During a visit with Mr. Ho, he advises Bob to go into his heart "soon." Bob teaches his son by camera how to shave, play basketball, and how to start a car by jumper cable. He also confronts a childhood fear by finally riding a formidable roller coaster. During the ride, a young companion urges him to let go of the railing as the descent begins, but Bob firmly holds on. (A metaphor of his fear of letting go of life.) He is living on borrowed time—beyond the date the doctors gave him, as he says to his wife after getting off the coaster, "Today is D-Day. Death Day. I was supposed to be dead by today."
Gail's contractions increase, and soon she is in the hospital, to give birth to their baby. Bob and Gail have a happy time with their newborn but soon, Bob's condition worsens, now that the cancer has reached his brain. Hospice care is arranged for Bob. Bob makes a final visit to Mr. Ho, and asks him what the light is he keeps seeing. Mr. Ho replies it is "the life of the self" and urges him to get his "house in order (life and personal affairs)."
A hospice nurse, Theresa (Queen Latifah), moves in to help, but Bob is sinking fast. Bob and Gail finally call his family to inform them of what's going on. Bob's family comes west for the first time to visit. Bob makes peace with his family at last. Bob's childhood wish is finally granted by a circus in the backyard.
As his father shaves him, Bob shows that he has at last made peace by telling his father he loves him. Bob finally comes to terms with his life as he dies peacefully, surrounded by the loving, supportive bosom of his family. Next is shown Bob on a metaphysical roller coaster, this time letting go of the railing, raising his arms freely in the air this time, metaphorically letting go of life, and finally enjoying the ride of life. Bob rides toward a beautiful, shining, ethereal light. (Presumably Heaven.) A year later, his son and wife watch him on video, reading Dr. Seuss's Green Eggs and Ham to his son.
- Michael Keaton as Bob Jones
- Nicole Kidman as Gail Jones
- Bradley Whitford as Paul Ivanovich
- Rebecca Schull as Rose Ivanovich
- Michael Constantine as Bill Ivanovich
- Queen Latifah as Theresa
- Haing S. Ngor as Mr. Ho
- Lissa Walters as Deborah
My Life opened with a strong opening at No.3 at the Box office.
- Terry Pristin (November 21, 1993). "MOVIES : Death Takes This Holiday : Films about dying have normally been taboo for box-office-conscious studios. So what's with all these movies about death during this holiday movie season? Don't worry, some predict the trend will be short-lived.". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2010-12-22.
- "Review/Film; Learning About Living, the Hard Way". The New York Times. Retrieved 2012-06-01.
- "My Life (1993)". Rotten Tomatoes.
- David J. Fox (November 15, 1993). "Swords Duel 'Carlito' : Box office: 'The Three Musketeers' draws $11.5 million, while Al Pacino's mobster has his 'Way' for $9.3 million.". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2010-12-22.