Mike Leigh’s breakthrough is a funny film about serious things, and an emotional and slyly political take on consumer culture. Read more »
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The film ends with Natalie and Nicola sitting peacefully in the evening sunshine in the back garden. Natalie observes that Nicola must own up to her parents about her bulimia. She then asks Nicola "D'you want some money?" and Nicola accepts gratefully, the first time in the film where she has accepted an offer of help.
Through apparently humdrum struggles the film’s suburban Londoners, Jim Broadbent, Leigh’s then-wife Alison Steadman and their chalk-and-cheese adult twins Jane Horrocks and Claire Skinner, reveal hidden strengths.
By the end of "Life is Sweet," we are treading close to the stuff of life itself - to the way we all struggle and make do, compromise some of our dreams and insist on the others. Watching this movie made me realize how boring and thin many movies are; how they substitute plots for the fascinations of life.
Meanwhile, Andy is seen running his kitchen at work with energy and authority but slips on a spoon, breaking his ankle. Wendy receives the news with a characteristic mixture of sympathy and amusement. She drives him home from the hospital; aided by Natalie she makes him comfortable, and then goes to see Nicola, still in her room. Mother and daughter reconcile.
"Life is Sweet" seems to make discoveries as it goes along; it really feels as if the story is as surprising to the characters as it is to us. The filmmaker, Mike Leigh, works in a unique way: He assembles his actors, and then they spend weeks or months devising the screenplay by improvising together. When it's finished, they start shooting, having in vented the characters from the inside out.
“Hilarious British comedy by Mike Leigh. Very special brand of humor. One of the great comic characters ever in this movie.About a dysfunctional family”
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“One of the simplest yet most beautiful films ever that perfectly goes with its fantastic score.”
The film was shot entirely on location in Enfield, Middlesex, UK and used local people as extras including an Enfield-based dance school for the opening title sequence.
“Bittersweet like other Leigh films. A story from A to B with laughs and lessons in between. Broadbent is especially good as is Thewlis' brief turn.”
Aubrey's restaurant The Regret Rien is named after the 1956 song "Non, je ne regrette rien" by Charles Dumont and Michel Vaucaire, made famous by French singer Edith Piaf.
After Gilbert and Sullivan's latest play is critically panned, the frustrated team threatens to disband until it is inspired to write the masterpiece "The Mikado".
Andy often speaks in comic voices, at one point uttering the out-of-context line "He's fallen in the water!". This was the catchphrase of Little Jim, a recurring character from the 1950s BBC radio comedy programme The Goon Show.
Slice-of-life look at a sweet working-class couple in London, Shirley and Cyril, his mother, who's aging quickly and becoming forgetful, mum's ghastly upper-middle-class neighbors, and ... See full summary »
A look at this year's competition for Best Actress.
“Watching this movie made me realise how boring and thin many movies are; how they substitute plots for the fascinations of life.” Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times, 1991
BFI Media Conference 2016 - BFI Southbank I want to…
“Bittersweet, working-class British tragicomedy from the undisputed king of the genre; a great ensemble cast and melancholic score hit the right notes.”
Life Is Sweet is a 1990 British comedy-drama film directed by Mike Leigh, starring Alison Steadman, Jim Broadbent, Claire Skinner, Jane Horrocks and Timothy Spall. Leigh's third cinematic film, it was his most commercially successful title at the time of its release. The, by turns, tragi-comic story follows the fortunes of a working-class North London family over a few weeks one summer.
The Ebert Club is our hand-picked selection of content for Ebert fans. You will receive a weekly newsletter full of movie-related tidbits, articles, trailers, even the occasional streamable movie. Club members also get access to our members-only section on RogerEbert.com
Abortionist Vera Drake finds her beliefs and practices clash with the mores of 1950s Britain--a conflict that leads to tragedy for her family.
Penny's love for her partner, taxi-driver Phil, has run dry. He is a gentle, philosophical guy, and she works on the checkout at a supermarket. Their daughter Rachel cleans in a home for ... See full summary »
An exploration of the last quarter century of the great, if eccentric, British painter J.M.W. Turner's life.
Explores the personal and economic lives of a lower middle-class English family in hard times.
The film was a co-production between British Screen Productions, Channel Four Films and Thin Man Films, a production company created by Mike Leigh and producer Simon Channing-Williams. This was the first release by Thin Man, who have produced all Leigh's films since Life Is Sweet.
The urge to remain individual within a family, and the relationship between the personal and the entrepreneurial, are among the themes that inform Mike Leigh’s touching comedy.
Life Is Sweet (1991)
Parallel tales of two sexually obsessed men, one hurting and annoying women physically and mentally, one wandering around the city talking to strangers and experiencing dimensions of life.
A look at four seasons in the lives of a happily married couple and their relationships with their family and friends.
In his day job, Andy works in the food preparation industry and hates it. When he trips over a spoon and breaks a leg, he brings the spoon home with him, hangs it in a place of shame on the wall, and accuses it of treachery in the warmest and most personal terms. It is hard to imagine a screenwriter coming up with this dialogue, but it feels both original and exactly right; the sort of things that would come out of an improvisational investigation.
Movies and TV shows are Certified Fresh with a steady Tomatometer of 75% or higher after a set amount of reviews (80 for wide-release movies, 40 for limited-release movies, 20 for TV shows), including 5 reviews from Top Critics.
2 young women reunite and rekindle their friendship after having said goodbye at their college graduation, six years earlier.
Most movies begin by knowing everything about their characters.
This weekend, Mike Leigh’s 1990 comedy Life Is Sweet will screen at the Trylon microcinema in Minneapolis, Minnesota, as part of a monthlong retrospective of the director’s early films. This . . . Read more »
These daughters are like the night and day. Nicola, played by Horrocks, hides behind glasses, tangled hair and cigarettes, and affects a great contempt for all things conventional, progressive, or healthy. Natalie, played by Skinner, is clean-cut, cheerful and dutiful. Each sister is a rebuke to the other.
Meanwhile, at home, in such a subtle way we don't at first realize it, the movie reveals its more serious undertones. Nicola really is seriously disturbed - convinced she is ugly and fat - and the sunny cheerfulness of her sister acts only as a daily depressant.
The Tomatometer rating – based on the published opinions of hundreds of film and television critics – is a trusted measurement of movie and TV programming quality for millions of moviegoers. It represents the percentage of professional critic reviews that are positive for a given film or television show.
The director's wife at the time, Alison Steadman, stealing the show as Wendy the nurturing suburban housewife survivor.
Meanwhile, Andy and Patsy have gone to their local pub, where Andy gets uncharacteristically but emphatically drunk and ends up sleeping inside the decrepit fast-food van in his driveway. Wendy returns home from the disastrous opening night of Aubrey's restaurant to find him there: unnerved by her bizarre evening, she loses her temper with the whole family.