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Stuart: A Life Backwards (2007)


Stuart: A Life Backwards is a drama that first premiered on the BBC in the U.K. It is based upon the biography of the same name written by Alexander Masters. Masters wrote the biography of his friend Stuart Shorter, a career thief, prisoner, and who is homeless from a young age. The film stars Benedict Cumberbatch as Alexander Masters, Tom Hardy as Stuart Shorter, and is directed by David Attwood.


When Stuart (Hardy), a violent, homeless, alcoholic meets writer Alexander Masters (Cumberbatch) at a charity event, the two become quick friends. As their friendship progresses, Stuart begins to describe his childhood and the tribulations he has suffered in his life. When Masters hears the life story, he asks Stuart if he can write his biography, Stuart agrees. As the back story is being told to Masters, more tragic events are revealed coinciding with the closer Masters and Stuart become. Nearing the completion of the biography, Stuart’s life begins to spiral out of control in reverse.


This is the Tom Hardy we’ve come to love. This is Hardy’s best performance to date, yet one of his least viewed. Ranging from emotional, drunk, suicidal, and completely out of control, Hardy delivers a powerhouse performance. Not to be outdone is Benedict Cumberbatch who matches Hardy stride for stride in a much more subtle, domesticated role. The film is a very script driven picture with various flashbacks and not a significant amount of visuals. Attwood controls his actors with a firm hand and manages to squeeze enormous amounts of emotion, energy, and fire from the original text and translate it all to the screen. Stuart: A Life Backwards is an underrated, seldom seen work of genius that showcases human life and the spark needed to make it extraordinary. Hardy and Cumberbatch provide that spark in their performances while Attwood fuels the fire from behind the camera. A very rare film that is hard to find but is a must see if you can get your hands on it.

Stuart: A Life Backwards: 8.5 out of 10.


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