Life Is Sweet (1990)

R  |   |  Comedy, Drama  |  December 1991 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.5/10 from 5,801 users   Metascore: 88/100
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A waitress, her cook husband, & their twin daughters ponder their lives over a few weeks in a working-class suburb north of London.



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Complete credited cast:
Nicola's Lover
Moya Brady ...
David Neilson ...
Paul Trussell ...
Chef (as Paul Trussel)
Jack Thorpe-Baker ...
Nigel (as Jack Thorpe Baker)


Just north of London live Wendy, Andy, and their twenty-something twins, Natalie and Nicola. Wendy clerks in a shop, leads aerobics at a primary school, jokes like a vaudevillian, agrees to waitress at a friend's new restaurant and dotes on Andy, a cook who forever puts off home remodeling projects, and with a drunken friend, buys a broken down lunch wagon. Natalie, with short neat hair and a snappy, droll manner, is a plumber; she has a holiday planned in America, but little else. Last is Nicola, odd man out: a snarl, big glasses, cigarette, mussed hair, jittery fingers, bulimic, jobless, and unhappy. How they interact and play out family conflict and love is the film's subject. Written by <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Comedy | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language and a scene of sensuality | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

December 1991 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A Vida é Doce  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$1,516,414 (USA)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


David Thewlis was disappointed at being given such a small role, so Mike Leigh promised him that the next time he considered Thewlis for a role in a film, "he'd be given a fair slice of the pie." Thewlis would be cast as the lead in Leigh's next film Naked (1993), and win an award for his performance. See more »


[Natalie and Nicola ponder having children]
Natalie: Well, I wouldn't fancy bringing one up on me own.
Nicola: It's better to be on your own than be with a bastard.
Natalie: Well, presumably you wouldn't *choose* a bastard in the first place if you had any sense!
Nicola: All men are bastards!
Natalie: *What*?
Nicola: They're all potential rapists!
Natalie: That's a bit sweeping!
Nicola: All men have got the ability to rape.
Natalie: Well they don't all do it, do they!
See more »


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User Reviews

A sublime slice of ordinary life from Mike Leigh
9 September 2003 | by (York, England) – See all my reviews

A sublime slice of ordinary life from Mike Leigh. He takes us through 5 days in the life of a London family: Jim Broadbent, Alison Steadman and their twin daughters Claire Skinner and Jane Horrox. What follows is by turns touching, hilarious and unsettling. Leigh is often compared to Ken Loach, but Loach deals with unspeakably grim and often melodramatic scenarios. The far more impressive gift of Leigh is to make tales from the apparently unremarkable. So many touches run true here; Steadman doing a little dance to herself alone in the kitchen, Broadbent and Stephen Rea drunkenly reciting the Spurs Double side, Skinner describing an arthritic old woman met on her plumbing round. And the tragedy of the film is also unveiled naturally and feels horribly believable.

The performances are also astonishing. Broadbent and Steadman, both distinctive actors, can descend into parody but here are just hugely enjoyable. Skinner is nicely deadpan but the star is Horrox, playing a twitching wreck of a girl who mainly communicates in one word insults. Little wonder she's been given so many chances to prove her talents subsequently, just a shame she's never taken them. The only false note is Tim Spall as a manic chef. Perhaps that's because he's simply put in for comic value (he was far better in Leigh's 'Secrets and Lies'), his character given none of the depth which lights up the rest of the film.

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