(1990)

Critic Reviews

88

Metascore

Based on 18 critic reviews provided by Metacritic.com
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]
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.
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
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
USA Today
Sweet (maybe) - but also painful (for sure). So painful that it's initially easy to resist this slice-of-Middlesex-life from Brit director Mike Leigh. Yet gradually, a mom, a dad and late-teen twins prove overwhelmingly winning through sheer willpower. Theirs, and the willpower of an idiosyncratic filmmaker who loves his characters no matter what. [24 Dec. 1991, p.4D]
88
The Globe and Mail (Toronto)
Life is Sweet is sweet indeed - and comic and quirky and, on those occasions when the tone deftly shifts, just a little sad... Leigh's work, and the quotidian life it depicts, is sometimes slim but never insubstantial, occasionally sweet but never a sugary confection. And always worth celebrating. [24 Jan. 1992]
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.
80
Leigh has the skill to inspire with the everyday.
75
Miami Herald
It's not a wonderful family, and the lives thus illuminated aren't sweet at all. But the movie is both things. In his sheer affinity for the human, Leigh approaches the great Jean Renoir. What fun to watch. [21 Feb. 1992, p.5]
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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