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Stuart: A Life Backwards [DVD] 
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The award-winning drama Stuart A Life Backwards details the remarkable friendship between a reclusive writer and illustrator (Alexander played by Benedict Cumberbatch) and a chaotic homeless man (Stuart played by BAFTA Award nominee Tom Hardy), whom he gets to know during a campaign to release two charity workers from prison.
As Alexander learns more about Stuart s complicated life and traumatic childhood, he asks if he can write his story and Stuart advises him to write the story backwards, so that it s more exciting like a Tom Clancy murder-mystery . As their remarkable alliance develops, Stuart gradually recounts his life story in reverse, his resilient personality and dry sense of humour giving the film an almost tragi-comic edge.
Through post-office heists, attempts at suicide and spells inside various institutions, Alexander is given a glimpse into a totally alien world and begins to understand how Stuart s life spiralled so badly out of control.
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Top Customer Reviews
This is a very sad story but often hilarious and very heart warming. You are endeared to Stuart right away and Tom Hardy's potrayal of him is exceptional. I have watched this about 5 times now and I still cry everytime.
The man at the centre of this drama, Stuart Clive Shorter, was it seems, a 'convict curry' of contradictions; By turns, gentle yet violent, intelligent yet credulous, polite yet terrifying, innocent yet street savvy - riding the tidal wave of his personality with a strange kind of grace and sharp humour.
Shunted around like a hockey puck from institution to institution and beset by abuse, disability and addiction from childhood, our introduction to the 33 year old Stuart begins when he parks himself in a Cambridge drop in centre and wins over writer Alexander Masters with his perculiarly acute worldview.
Stuart and Alexander become unlikely allies in campaigning against the unjust imprisonment of two out-reach workers, jailed when a homeless centre they ran was raided by Police.
Long hours and long journeys lead to long conversations, as Alexander decides to 'staple Stuart to the page' - writing, at Stuart's invitation, a 'murder mystery'. Starting - Columbo style - with the victim, and guiding the viewer slowly through the horrific crimes which led to the maiming of the man, and the killing of the boy.
Director David Attwood has previously taken viewers on a visceral voyage through Edwardian seas in 'To The Ends of The Earth', and again, does not flinch from the difficult subject matter contained in Stuart's story.Read more ›
Its based on a true story. The basic outline is that of a friendship built between a middle classed writer Alexander (Benedict Cumberbatch).and a homeless man, Stuart (Tom Hardy) who's paths cross when Alexander is working for a homeless project and heads a campaign to secure the release of the two project leaders who are imprisoned for allowing drug dealing on the premises.Stuart volunteers his help in the campaign and Alexander so intrigued by Stuarts character decides to write the first book about a homeless character.
But its so much more than this....
At the start of the film the lyrics are "Ive been pissing in the wind, i chanced a foolish grin, and dribbled on my chin, and now the ground it shifts beneath my feet all the people that i meet, never know my name. Just give me something, Cos i need nothing,......
What a brilliant way to describe Stuarts situation. Its Stuarts idea to write the book backwards like a murder mystery "Who murdered the boy i was?"
And i dont want to tell you anymore, i just recommend you watch it, because the acting is outstanding, the story a rollercoaster of emotions, played out in the only way this characters story could be, a tragic comedy.
This film introduced me to both Tom and Benedict. Benedict has gone on to other roles
Sherlock Holmes on the bbc which i enjoyed immensely. Tom Hardy now making a big name for himself films such as Inception, Warrior, Bane in The Dark Knight Rises, This Means War. But by far this for me, remains his Best performance by which others are measured, he truly has a talent in relaying these diverse characters, I hope he doesnt forget his roots and gets type cast in big budget films (a bit like christian Bale). Hardy's believability comes
from being able to draw on his own artistic talent as he reveals in the "extras"
So... I started gradually going through his back catalogue and this, along with 'Bronson', are two astonishing films. 'Stuart...' is a story of one individuals desperate attempt to retain his soul and dignity in the face of almost unbearable pain. Chronicled by Alexander - his biographer and friend,- the film gradually works backward to reveal the reasons for his hostility and alienation to a world that had abandoned him.
Benedict Cumberbatchs' portrayal of Alexander is sensitive and subtle and is convincing as the retiring and insular writer and he manages not to be overwhelmed by Tom Hardys' astonishing performance as the drug-addicted, violent, homeless, drunk. Of course, one of the reasons the film is so watchable is the humour and affection between the two main characters. It was genuinely funny in places (and in true Shakespearean fashion, normally just before something horrible happens...).
As with Bronson, Warrior and Batman, Tom Hardy manages to give humanity and soul to what might otherwise be considered thoroughly nasty individuals. His performance here is simply beautiful and, having now seen it a second time, I cannot for the life of me think why he did not win more awards for this.
I'm not the arty type (hence the introduction to Hardy via Batman!) and am not in the habit of giving film reviews, but I just wanted to encourage people who only think of Hardy as a He-Man and Batman Nemesis (in-joke there for some of you) to see Hardy give possibly his best performance.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A strong and clear narrative and remarkable central performances from Tom Hardy and Benedict Cumberbatch in this, tough, funny, edgy social documentary. Read morePublished 16 days ago by Ann McCabe
Very sad story, but with some funny parts. Tom Hardy plays a really sympathetic character, and you can't help but feel sorry for him. Based on a true story. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Patricia Farley
excellent stuff. Totally engrossing and brilliant performances by Cumberbatch and Hardy.Published 2 months ago by VeeJay L
Brilliant adaptation of the book, Tom Hardy showing his real talent in this. Also an eye opening insight into the dark world of mental health, drug addiction and homelessness. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Amazon Customer