31 user 39 critic

Life Is Sweet (1990)

R | | Comedy, Drama | December 1991 (USA)
2:00 | Trailer

On Disc

at Amazon

A waitress, her cook husband, & their twin daughters ponder their lives over a few weeks in a working-class suburb north of London.



8 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »



Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

High Hopes (1988)
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

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 »

Director: Mike Leigh
Stars: Phil Davis, Ruth Sheen, Edna Doré
Career Girls (1997)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

2 young women reunite and rekindle their friendship after having said goodbye at their college graduation, six years earlier.

Director: Mike Leigh
Stars: Katrin Cartlidge, Lynda Steadman, Kate Byers
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

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 »

Director: Mike Leigh
Stars: Timothy Spall, Lesley Manville, Ruth Sheen
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

A successful black woman discovers that her birth mother is a underprivileged white woman, but the woman denies it. As emotions run high, everyone's secrets are exposed.

Director: Mike Leigh
Stars: Timothy Spall, Brenda Blethyn, Phyllis Logan
Bleak Moments (1971)
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

Moments from the uncompromisingly bleak existence of a secretary, her intellectually disabled sister, aloof and uneasy teacher boyfriend, bizarre neighbor and irritating workmate.

Director: Mike Leigh
Stars: Anne Raitt, Sarah Stephenson, Eric Allan
Another Year (2010)
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

A look at four seasons in the lives of a happily married couple and their relationships with their family and friends.

Director: Mike Leigh
Stars: Jim Broadbent, Ruth Sheen, Lesley Manville
Naked (1993)
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

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.

Director: Mike Leigh
Stars: David Thewlis, Lesley Sharp, Katrin Cartlidge
Topsy-Turvy (1999)
Biography | Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

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".

Director: Mike Leigh
Stars: Jim Broadbent, Allan Corduner, Dexter Fletcher
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

A look at a few chapters in the life of Poppy, a cheery, colorful, North London schoolteacher whose optimism tends to exasperate those around her.

Director: Mike Leigh
Stars: Sally Hawkins, Alexis Zegerman, Samuel Roukin
Vera Drake (2004)
Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

Abortionist Vera Drake finds her beliefs and practices clash with the mores of 1950s Britain--a conflict that leads to tragedy for her family.

Director: Mike Leigh
Stars: Imelda Staunton, Jim Broadbent, Heather Craney
Meantime (TV Movie 1984)
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

An odd film, primarily looking at how the dole affects the underclass in Britain. Tim Roth stars as Colin, a slow and possibly intellectually disabled man living with his parents and ... See full summary »

Director: Mike Leigh
Stars: Marion Bailey, Tim Roth, Phil Daniels
The Short & Curlies (TV Short 1988)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

A short comedy by Mike Leigh about the romance between a young woman and a man who communicates only through jokes and humor. The story is told as a series of very short vignettes between ... See full summary »

Director: Mike Leigh
Stars: Alison Steadman, Sylvestra Le Touzel, David Thewlis


Complete credited cast:
Nicola's Lover
Moya Brady ...
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 <jhailey@hotmail.com>

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?


Aubrey's bizarre recipes were devised by Mike Leigh and Timothy Spall over the course of an evening, and then checked for plausibility with a professional chef, who advised them about which ones were technically impossible to prepare; all the ones that appear in the film are, as Leigh put it, "all feasible, gross as it sounds." See more »


Patsy: [in a pub after a few beers] far as I'm concerned, football died, the day Arsenal won the double.
Andy: that's right. yeah
Patsy: what was they, workhorses.
Andy: boring buggers hey.
Patsy: well the spurs double team, they was artists.
Andy: they was artists.
Patsy: 21 quid a week they got, can you imagine. what do they get today, millions.
Andy: and they got their backhanders on top of that ain't they.
Patsy: poncing round the penalty area with their handbags.
Andy: primadonnas
See more »


Featured in The South Bank Show: Mike Leigh (2002) See more »


Happy Holidays
By Rachel Portman and Julian Wastall
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

23 November 2000 | by (Manchester, England) – See all my reviews

I often fantasise about directing a movie (yes, I know I'm sad!), and I would like to think that my movies would come out like Mike Leigh's: affectionate without being sentimental, funny without crossing over into out-and-out comedy, realistic without being bleak or depressing.

This portrayal of an "ordinary" English family is everything a film ought to be. Great acting - Alison Steadman in particular - her character's relentless optimism and cheerfulness interspersed with knowing when a situation needs to be treated more seriously; Jim Broadbent as the day-dreaming father and Jane Horrocks as the anorexic Nicola. All the characters are beautifully drawn, including the minor characters (Timothy Spall as doomed chef Aubrey, Stephen Rea as dodgy-dealer Patsy, David Thewlis as Nicola's unnamed lover).

Some typical Leigh scenes include the excellently framed shot of the burger-van in the scrapyard (which could almost be a painting!), and the panning shot along the back of the row of houses (implying that similar dramas are unfolding in everyone's lives).

Not much actually happens, but that's part of the point - it takes in themes of happiness, hopes and dreams, friendship and family ties. Clearly a precursor to "Secrets And Lies", this is a simpler, purer film, but with the same message of ultimate optimism.

12 of 13 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Can't see the justice in this film ProfoundRed
buttered muffins.... ianfox1971
The menu. el_graplurado
Discuss Life Is Sweet (1990) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: