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Kiss of Life (2003)

Helen lives in London with her father and her kids. John, her husband, is an aid-worker in Eastern Europe. He has been gone many months. Helen is desperately anxious that he should come ... See full summary »



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Credited cast:
Millie Findlay ...
James E. Martin ...
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Ivan Bijuk ...
Old Man
Sonnell Dadral ...
Natalie Dew ...
Elizabeth Powell ...
Little Kate
Marinko Prga ...
Mercedes Driver
Barbara Rocco ...
Woman In Bar
Dragica Sreckovic ...
Old Woman
Davor Svedruzic ...
Angry Soldier
Heather Tobias ...


Helen lives in London with her father and her kids. John, her husband, is an aid-worker in Eastern Europe. He has been gone many months. Helen is desperately anxious that he should come home. Taking the kids to school one morning, she is killed in a car accident. She remains caught in limbo, trapped between life and death. Many miles away, in war-torn Eastern Europe, John is unaware that his wife has died. As Helen herself is unaware that she is dead¿ Thus begins, a four-day Odyssey: Grandpa and the kids must come to terms with Helen's death; John must travel across a war-torn land as he tries to reach home; and Helen must stand helplessly observing her own existence as it comes back to haunt her - until at last she is reconciled with John, and thus released. Written by Ievute

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Release Date:

2 January 2004 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

Az élet csókja  »

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Beyond "Beyond Borders" - a down-to-earth telling of the (psychological) struggles endured between a foreign aid worker and his immediate family that also needs him
20 September 2004 | by (sf, usa) – See all my reviews

"Kiss of Life" (2003) from BBC Films, written and directed by Emily Young, is a depiction of several days in the lives of a global relief worker (in far away yonder of remote Eastern Europe) and his family of wife, daughter, son and father-in-law back in London, England. It's the less glamorous side of the emotional reality of such a family, with a husband & father who has the ambition to 'save the world' of others while the world immediate to him seems to be crumbling, desperately beckoning him to return home where he's really needed.

Yes, the subject matter is tough - quite courageous of Young to tackle in her debut feature. With the help of two talented leads: Peter Mullan (always fascinating to watch) as John and Ingeborga Dapkunaite (memorable from "Burnt By the Sun" 1994 Russian film) as Helen - the woe-begotten couple (love amiss and love a-longing), along with Millie Findlay as Kate the budding teenage daughter, James E. Martin as Telly the taciturn young son, plus veteran British actor David Warner as Pap in his solitude (grandpa to the children), we have an 86-min. of tense, anxious emotions at play. The son reminds me of director Angela Pope's 'Hollow Reed' (1995, Martin Donovan, Joely Richardson with Sam Bould), a film also with a young son quite alone and coping with crisis. The daughter (the only one with makeup on most of the time) presents her teen angst in parent conflict situations, yet we see her caringness and intimate conversational moments with Mum.

Emily Young's "Kiss of Life" is an emotional ride (wringer). The Croatian Unit location shot scenes are well edited by David Charap and cinematography by Wojciech Szepel with music by Murray Gold gave the various moods a measured balance to the plot progression. There is poetry to the reminiscent flashbacks and pause moments placed to each character's thought sequences.

I was lucky to be able to catch this rare gem of a movie on Cable Sundance Channel. In spite of the seeming anxiety and probable 'tragic' turn of events, the glint of hope is there - that John's perseverance against all odds could pay off, perhaps at the loss of one and regaining connection to the others. Life is short and cherish it with the ones dear to us, we are prompted.

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