7.5/10
6,076
30 user 40 critic

Life Is Sweet (1990)

R | | Comedy, Drama | December 1991 (USA)
Trailer
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.

Director:

Writer:

8 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

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: Philip Davis, Ruth Sheen, Edna Doré
Career Girls (1997)
Drama
    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
Drama
    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
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

A successful black woman discovers that her birth mother is a lower-class 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
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
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
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
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
Comedy | Drama
    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)
Short
    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
Edit

Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
...
...
...
...
...
Nicola's Lover
Moya Brady ...
Paula
...
Steve
...
Customer
Paul Trussell ...
Chef (as Paul Trussel)
Jack Thorpe-Baker ...
Nigel (as Jack Thorpe Baker)
Edit

Storyline

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

Genres:

Comedy | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

Parents Guide:

 »
Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

December 1991 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A Vida é Doce  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Gross:

$1,516,414 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Metrocolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

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 »

Quotes

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 »


Soundtracks

Happy Holidays
By Rachel Portman and Julian Wastall
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
Unpretentious but unforgettable domestic drama.
5 September 1999 | by See all my reviews

This unpredictable and hard-hitting film follows the lives of the fascinating characters who make up a lower-middle-class family. A character-based story, there really isn't a plot, as there isn't a plot in our everyday lives, but it is all the more interesting for that.

The parents are amicable beings: the mother Wendy a chirpy, motherly character (very well-acted), the father incredibly laid-back, yet hard-working at a job he hates. Their two daughters are like chalk and cheese: Natalie, a plumber, is quiet and practical (I thought she was a boy at first: hers is a curiously unsexed character) while Nicola is a complete mess.

The ugliness of true life is shown beside its mundane beauty. The shocking scenes of Nicola's self-torture (she is a secret bulimic) are juxtaposed with scenes of the mother dusting, and the ordinary cheerfulness of the rest of the family. A bizarre family friend, Aubrey, and his dream of running his own restaurant provide a subplot of sorts, but the domestic drama is far more interesting.

Horricks gives a startling good performance as the disturbed Nicola: she drips with self-loathing, but inspires pity. The most poignant scene is one in which her boyfriend, no Einstein himself, becomes fed up with her intense sexual demands, and asks her to prove her intelligence by having a real conversation with him. Nicola, whom we know is intelligent, cannot bring herself to do this: she is compelled to always show herself in the worst light. She can only mutter 'I AM intelligent' in a voice of despair. The boyfriend departs, leaving her in a state of even more intense self-hatred and depression. It is hard-hitting scenes like this one which stick in the memory.

The mother, Wendy, who appears a scatterbrain at first, emerges as a dignified, wise and compassionate woman, as she responds in a touching scene to her troubled daughter Nicola.

It's such a plain-looking film, yet it is striking because of the intensity of its characters, and the honesty of director Mike Leigh's observations. Although life is hard for the family, it is also sweet. That, I think, is Leigh's message.


13 of 15 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
What if? matt72582
Discuss Life Is Sweet (1990) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?