Life Is Sweet (1991) - Mike Leigh
Wendy and Allen, working class parents, live with their two 20-something twin daughters, Nicola and Natalie, in the London suburbs. Andy is a good-natured fellow and professional cook, who has a propensity for biting off more than he can chew. His wife, Wendy, always seems to have a sunny disposition while their daughters couldn't be more different. Natalie works a plumbers' assistant, a tomboy of sorts, she believe to have found her calling in life. On the other hand there is Nicola, an unemployed, angst-ridden woman who holds contempt for conventionality. Mike Leigh's Life is Sweet offers a slice-of-life, deconstruction of a working class family in the suburbs. Every character in this family unit is explored, with Leigh creating an effective portrait of the conflict and love that takes place, capturing various family dynamics all very common in any family unit. Like much of Leigh's work, Life is Sweet is able to balance its comedic and dramatic moments extremely well, giving us a genuine portrait of ups and downs of a family unit while never feeling melodramatic and manipulative. Nicola's character provides the largest amount of emotional weight in the story, a young woman whose poor self-image has made her depressed and bitter at the world, with Leigh exploring the dynamics of a young person in this situation, regardless of how optimistic her parents are. Mike Leigh's Life is Sweet is an honest look into a working-class, low-income family that effectively captures the various emotions which persist in a family due to both personal and economical situations.
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