My Life So Far

Movie review by
S. Jhoanna Robledo, Common Sense Media
My Life So Far Movie Poster Image
Endearing, mild coming-of-age tale in 1920s Scotland.
  • PG-13
  • 2011
  • 85 minutes

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Life never fails to deliver curve balls, whether its the sudden arrival of a man in an airplane or the sudden collapse of a frozen lake. The secret is to hang on for the ride, and not to try and fight it, a lesson that serves Fraser well as he matures into a young man.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Fraser is charming and endearing as he slowly grows up. He's curious and mischievous, though none of his pranks are mean-spirited. His loving father, despite a few flaws, is devoted to helping his boys become good men.

Violence

Two men get into a brawl. Young boys start to wrestle after one says a cutting remark. Some men carry shotguns when they are hunting.

Sex

A boy discovers a cache of nude drawings and racy books that he doesn't quite understand, prompting him to bring up prostitution and orgies in conversations with adults. A married man becomes infatuated with his sister-in-law, but nothing comes of it. Young boys are shown from behind as they jump naked into a lake.

Language

Infrequent swearing, ranging from "hell" to "ass" to "t--ties." There is also some talk of "slanking," an activity reserved for men and women to do together.

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Some people drink wine with meals and occasionally relax with a cigar.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that My Life So Far focuses on a young boy growing up in 1920s Scotland on a huge estate, surrounded by a large family. The adults become involved in a variety of grown-up emotional entanglements, though they're all seen through Fraser's eyes, and he slowly starts to grasp the meaning of some of these incidents during the course of the film. In one scene he finds a cache of nude drawings and racy books and later brings up sexual topics in discussion with adults. There is some occasional mild swearing and a few shots from behind of nude boys skinny-dipping in a lake.

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What's the story?

Fraser Pettigrew is a tween boy growing up on Kiloran, a vast estate ruled over by his stern, but loving grandmother in 1920s Scotland in MY LIFE SO FAR. His slightly eccentric inventor father (Colin Firth) is devoted to the family, but often clashes with Fraser's wealthy businessman uncle (Malcolm McDowell), who has very different views about how to run the estate. These adult conflicts are seen from Fraser's childlike perspective, and over the course of the film he gradually starts to understand more of the situations.

Is it any good?

My Life So Far is a charming film, filled with entertaining characters and beautiful vistas. Fraser is an endearing lad and he gets plenty of good lines as he struggles to understand the complexities of adulthood. It's fun to watch.

What it lacks is a compelling plot. It's staged more as a series of vaguely connected vignettes that paint a realistic picture of a family, but don't necessarily make for much of a story. The film moves from one incident to another, introduces one conflict then resolves it and moves on. And then finally it just stops. It feels like the film is just tagging along for a ride rather than watching a well-thought-out movie.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about coming-of-age movies. What do they all have in common? What would be your coming-of-age story? Are there any great growing up books that would make a good movie?

  • How realistic does this movie feel? Can you relate to the boy's situations despite the time and place differences?

Movie details

Themes & Topics

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