(1990)

Critic Reviews

88

Metascore

Based on 18 critic reviews provided by Metacritic.com
100
There are scenes here that are funnier than those of any other movie this year, and other scenes that weep with the pain of sad family secrets, and when it's over we have seen some kind of masterpiece. This is one of the best films of the year.
100
Leigh hasn't the affect of a poet, but he's a poet nonetheless. This movie captures the smallish details in life that perhaps you've felt before, but have never before seen on screen. He has a genius for the commonplace. It is truly sweet stuff.
100
You feel protective about Leigh's work because its almost indescribable virtues touch the heart, yet far from being some delicate flower, Life Is Sweet has the wild, brazen, anything-goes energy of a 2-year-old, willing to take chances that would freeze the blood of another, more timidly conventional film.
100
San Francisco Chronicle
Life Is Sweet, a comedy with wonderfully touching moments by off-beat British director Mike Leigh, is an absolute gem of eccentric humor about family life. Fresh and quirky, the film dishes up astonishing vitality in its look at what is ostensibly a plain, lower middle-class family in Middlesex. [22 Nov. 1991, p.C5]
91
Leigh gives you such a strong sense of his characters as fluky individuals that even his most lackadaisical scenes are alive with possibility. What holds Life Is Sweet together is his perception — at once funny and wise — that people, when they change at all, do so in small, nearly imperceptible ways, and that that may be enough.
90
Life Is Sweet, a title that should not be taken as irony, demands that the audience accept its meandering manner without expectations of the big dramatic event or the boffo laugh. It is very funny, but without splitting the sides.
90
The Hollywood Reporter
Mike Leigh has come up with a profound yet simple drama of family life generously leavened with comedy. [14 Oct. 1991]
88
An off-center, lighthearted but perceptive study of people following their dreams in the only way they know how, Life Is Sweet-the title is only somewhat ironic-is a warm and joyful piece, with the tossed-off hilarity smoothly giving way to poignance in its darker final segments.
75
Boston Globe
Nobody makes films as sympathetic to struggling working-class types as Mike Leigh, and nobody makes them as uncondescendingly. Although uneven, Leigh's latest, Life Is Sweet, is a honey of a film, one of the few to feel good about in this dismal year. [22 Nov. 1991, p.35]
50
Life Is Sweet observes this constellation of people without ever really commenting on their lots. Very little occurs and thus, if you don't find yourself drawn to these characters, you will find yourself wondering when it will all be over.

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