My Life Story
Part documentary, part stand-up, part one man show, My Life Story is an endearing and deeply personal account of the life of Madness frontman Suggs from the man himself. What begins with a touching anecdote about the death of a beloved pet cat on his 50th birthday soon branches out into a snapshot of the singer’s life, encompassing his early years on the streets of Soho to the rise and fall of Madness and interwoven with the search for his father.
This intimate retelling of his life story is uplifting and lighthearted, and harrowing and honest, but is always fully captivating. On the small stage on which he stands, everything is laid bare. There is no large ska band behind Suggs or fancy production values; there is only a pianist to keep him company and a small audience occupying an even smaller space. It’s as if he’s speaking directly to the viewer, which only makes his words feel that much more sincere.
Although the film primarily focuses on the life of Suggs, which is bound to be of interest to fans of his work, this is in no way a hindrance to those unfamiliar with the Madness singer. Suggs’s account of his past is more than just memories and recollections; it’s a time capsule of the late 60s to early 80s, covering his riotous days as a school boy to his time spent in the thriving music subcultures, alongside their violent clashes that tore across the streets of London. Talks of rockers, punks and mods may be purely nostalgic to some viewers, but these anecdotes are about what essentially defined a whole new generation of music.
Neither is My Life Story simply Suggs talking on stage. Throughout the running time, there are a variety of comedic re-enactments (both live-action and animated) and the use of archive footage to bring the Madness frontman’s colourful world to life on the big screen. Moreover, like any tale worth hearing, its final message is poignant and will resonate with many. Charming, honest, and fully enthralling, My Life Story is definitely a story worth listening to.
My Life Story is released in selected cinemas on 17th January 2018.
Watch the trailer for My Life Story here: