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4.7 out of 5 stars150
4.7 out of 5 stars
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on 21 June 2010
The performance by Tom Hardy of Stuart was absolutely outstanding. I read the book first, and was amazed at how Hardy brought Stuart to life with his incredible acting . A great talent to watch out for in the future.
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on 26 August 2011
Very moving insight into the life of Stuart, a homeless (at some point), alchoholic & drug addict. This is a true story about a man called Stuart who lived in Cambridge which happens to be where I live, it's great seeing my home town in this brilliant film.
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.
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on 1 February 2010
This made me angry, sad, happy, humble. What more do you want in a film, i loved this so much, i went and brought the book, i am awaiting it,s arrival.Tom Hardy should get the recongnition he deserves he is ONE brilliant actor. Hats off to you sir,
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on 9 December 2009
This was one of the best things Ive seen Tom Hardy in, He missed out on a BAFTA for his performace. Im a big Tom Hardy fan, Great Actor
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on 8 November 2011
Tom Hardy at his best yet again what a excellent film that draws you in from the start to finish. compelling emotional,funny,and a bloody great watch.
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on 9 October 2009
Every now and then, the BBC produce a drama so breath-haltingly wonderful, it makes you want to trot off to Television Centre and press every single exorbitant pound of license fee money straight into the hands of the TV execs who gave it the go ahead.

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.

Attwood's use of black and white cartoon sequences to illustrate the darker aspects of Stuart's life is an ingenious device, giving light relief while still underlining the theme of childhood lost. Stuart's endearing attempts to cook the most unpalatable food ever eaten rival even Baldrick's finest culinary efforts, and add a splash of welcome gallows humour.

Tom Hardy and Benedict Cumberbatch, (as Stuart and Alexander respectively), pull of a masterclass in understated brilliance. Through their performances, this technicolour story is allowed to breathe freely, and like Stuart, it sneaks up slowly and grabs you by the heart.

'Stuart- A Life Backwards' remains a fittingly mad, sad, joyous and chaotic tribute to a man who, like a sort of skewed David Copperfield, was the hero of his own life. It's a one-off - Much like the man himself.
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on 20 September 2012
Ok, so when this was on t.v. I avoided it like the plague. Why would I want to see a televised biography of a homeless addict? FAR too depressing, I thought. And then I saw an actor called Tom Hardy in Batman Rises and he was the best thing in the whole film. A monster maybe but an interesting monster who, at the end, showed his humanity and his motives.

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.
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on 23 March 2013
Its very difficult to summarise the topic of this film, especially because by the end of it, it just left me lost of words.

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"
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on 10 August 2010
This adaptation of the book of the same name really is a masterpiece. Nothing is exaggerated to try and make the story more harrowing to watch, and nothing about the character of Stuart or his life is played down to try and make him more sympathetic. With this in mind, what you are left with is a very real story about the struggles one man has gone through and what then has become of him as a result. Tom Hardy is nothing short of genius in his leading role as Stuart, no doubt one of the most talented actors we have. This isn't an easy story to take in, yet while there is a fair share of darkness, there is also humour in the way Stuart looks at life. Overall this is one of the best BBC productions I have seen in a long time. If you don't buy this and love it you're a fool!
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on 15 March 2016
Tom Hardy is brilliant in the lead role as Stuart, a deeply troubled young man and his relationship with the author, played by Benedict Cumberbatch. The story begins with the meeting between the two protagonists and develops from there, with Stuart giving his life story in reverse as he wants to make it more interesting, 'like a Tom Clancy novel'. The acting is superb throughout this harrowing film, with a steady catalogue of abuse, mental and health issues which have plagued Stuart, since a young child. His innate sense of dry humour leavens the horror he has been exposed to and Tom Hardy is simply brilliant in his portrayal.

There are some comediac moments when a troop of activists, petitioning for the release of charity workers falsely imprisoned for drug offences, camp outside the Home Office on a weekend, when Jack Straw is not there. Stuart offers up some Masterclass cuisine with his 'convict curry' and deep fried bacon sandwiches to the author, all the time giving up his troubled background. The extent of his abuse as a child are horrifying and compounded by his medical condition and chronic alcoholism.

The ending is very sad and ties in with the beginning well. The extras shed light on the making of the picture with the author's piece being very interesting. An excellent and harrowing story with fine acting throughout.
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