Sunday, 30 April 2017

''Life Is Sweet'' (1990 film)- Review

Directed by: Mike Leigh
Released: 1990
Country: United Kingdom

Genre: Comedy-drama

Rating: 3.5 out of 5


''Life Is Sweet'' is a lovely little film written and directed by Mike Leigh. The film tells the story of a working class family consisting of a couple, Andy (played by Jim Broadbent) and Wendy (played by Alison Steadman) and their twin daughters Nicola (Jane Horrocks) and Natalie (Claire Skinner). Andy and Wendy are hardworking, happy and optimistic, and so is Natalie, who works as a plumber but loves her job. The only one who is different among them is Nicola. Nicola hardly leaves the house and she is hardly, if ever, happy. In spite of her rather bad behavior at times, the other three members of the family deal with her patiently and lovingly. The film takes place over the course of a few days and tells the story of the family.

I fell in love with Mike Leigh's films after I watched ''Secrets & Lies'' back in 2012. Even today, I consider ''Secrets & Lies'' one of my all-time favorite films. The best thing about his films is that they are very character-driven and the characters are developed with care and depth. ''Life Is Sweet'', Leigh's third feature film, tells the simple story of a simple family. At times, I wondered where the film was heading to. I got my answer in due time. The climax consists of an encounter between Nicola and her mother Wendy and this encounter results in a revelation that changed my perception of the film. This one revelation was powerful enough to make the entire film very memorable. 

''Life Is Sweet'' is a sweet little film, well-written and well-acted, but I thought it could have developed its characters more. I mean, the characters are very well-developed indeed, but had the film been a bit longer (and perhaps more focus on the interactions among the family members and less focus on the antics of the family friend), then perhaps I could really, really care for them. However, I enjoyed spending time with them and some of them were really sweet- particularly Andy and Wendy. Their optimism and cheerfulness really touched me. Broadbent, Steadman, Horrocks and Skinner are great in their roles, and Timothy Spall appears as a friend of the family, a funny character, and David Thewlis appears too, playing a small role.

Although not as great as Leigh's ''Secrets & Lies'' and ''Vera Drake'', it is a very good film, a moving film.

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