My Life So Far

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My Life So Far

Yet another mild, decorous, instantly forgettable period drama from Miramax—a studio that, for efficiency's sake, should consider assigning them numbers rather than titles—My Life So Far flits around so many potentially charged elements in its story that it's nearly an achievement in complacency. Returning to the lush greens of 1920s Scotland, the site of his Oscar-winning Chariots Of Fire, director Hugh Hudson peers through the same gauzy, nostalgic lens, reaching for a mood of bittersweet uplift that doesn't always suit the material. Told from the gently inquisitive perspective of a 10-year-old boy (Robbie Norman), My Life So Far concerns a well-heeled but dysfunctional family living in a castle on the Scottish countryside. The boy's innocent sexual curiosity is contrasted with the full-blown lust of his forbidding father (Colin Firth), an eccentric inventor willing to forsake his loving wife (Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio) for an affair with his hated brother-in-law's (Malcolm McDowell) exotic young bride (Irene Jacob). Bad blood, carnality, moral hypocrisy: My Life So Far may sound like a searing look at the sinister undercurrents of polite society, but Hudson's dramatic instincts will never be confused with Sam Fuller's. His direction is polished but curiously lacking in urgency, as if the minor pleasures delivered by the film's handsome production values and appealing cast were its entire raison d'être, like a tastefully appointed package with nothing inside.

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