Nancy Sidewater
February 27, 2004 AT 05:00 AM EST

Rarely does a movie about a young mother dying of cancer leave us without so much as a sniffle, but writer-director Isabel Coixet’s emotionless tale is as original as it is off-putting. Ann (Polley) chooses not to disclose her illness to her loved ones, and instead makes a list of 10 things to do before she dies. Recording birthday tapes for her family and cheating on her husband (with a lost but smoldering Ruffalo) become unsettling priorities. But Polley’s subtle performance and the satisfying love scenes save the anti-drama from sappy predictability. EXTRAS There are better ways to spend your final moments than behind the scenes with Coixet in a lifeless making-of featurette.

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