This is My Life

(Nora Ephron, USA, 1992)


This is My Life is a disappointing directorial debut from novelist and scriptwriter Nora Ephron (Heartburn, 1986).

The film has the perfect hook for a dysfunctional family affair: Dottie (the marvellous Julie Kavner) is a single mother with two daughters, pursuing a career as a stand-up comedian. When not leaving her kids alone for long stretches, she is shamelessly using their lives as gag material.

Much of the film is flatly handled, and Ephron sets up a curious structure of dual voice-over narrations – Dottie's versus that of her older daughter Erica (Samantha Mathis) – which goes nowhere and is abruptly abandoned.

Still, there are some funny and poignant details conveying the budding romances of the girls. Singer Carly Simon, who contributed a hideous score to Heartburn, does only a marginally less awful job here.

MORE Ephron: Mixed Nuts, Hanging Up, Sleepless in Seattle, You've Got Mail

© Adrian Martin August 1993

Film Critic: Adrian Martin
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