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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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Cast

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

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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2 January 2004 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

Az élet csókja  »

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It was really outstanding
3 December 2006 | by (Islamic Republic of Iran) – See all my reviews

Part romance, part road movie and part ghost story, Kiss of Life is a strong but inconsistent debut feature from British director Emily Young. It's the story of a woman who – after being killed in a car accident – finds herself stuck in limbo whilst her husband, unaware of her death, races from war-torn Eastern Europe to be with her. In telling this tale, Young attempts to weave two very different stories together, and is not always successful. It becomes hard to care about one character or the other as you continually flit between stories. On one hand you have the family living in England. Helen floats in limbo whilst the rest of her family deals with the grief of her death. As Helen is reduced to being a spirit in her own home, she recalls previous times with husband John. Here, Young is attempting to wring emotional mileage out of Helen's situation, but it never completely works. This partly because it takes too long for her to work out her situation (You were hit by a car, your kids or father can't see you and are crying all the time. There's a good chance you may be a ghost) and partly because it all feels slightly too manipulative. However, as Helen, Dapkunaite does a fine job and is given able support by David Warner as her father.

John's story proves much more productive. Peter Mullan gives a wonderful performance as the father who will do anything to get back home. Hitching lifts with refugees or trying to find his way across deserted towns, his journey becomes not only a personal odyssey, but a document of the effect of war. It's in these sections where the dramatic irony of his wives death works so well. His desire to see her is countered by our knowledge of her death. Thus, his story is also tinged with an underlying sadness which culminates in an almost unbearably tragic scene in a deserted tower block as he continues his journey.

Kiss of Life contains many wonderful moments, but never quite coheres as a whole. Perhaps more suited to the small screen, it remains a confident debut from a director who will be worth keeping an eye on in the future.


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