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A Way of Life
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Reviews & Ratings for
A Way of Life More at IMDbPro »

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Well Made but overwhelmingly depressing

Author: BJJManchester from United Kingdom
12 August 2007

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

A deliberately harsh,pessimistic,unrelenting look at the underclass in 21st Century Britain (namely South Wales),A WAY OF LIFE is a decently made kitchen sink slice of realism,with convincing performances (from a predominately teenage cast,with Brenda Blethyn the only well-known name on view) all round,but it's most severe problem is that it has zero entertainment value,not surprising the dismal and squalid settings that are on show,plus the deeply unpleasant characters.

The story of a teenage mum (well played by Stephanie James) who has had the most difficult of lives (mother committing suicide,abusive father,no job,poor education,etc.) ,and subsequently hurling appalling racist abuse at an Asian neighbour along with other similarly repellent teenage boys, making him the scapegoat for all her problems,is overly glum,humourless and even melodramatic;even the grandmother of her infant child (Blethyn) is subject to similarly aggressive rants. It becomes a considerable strain to watch the film because of the sheer nastiness of the characters and incident depicted.Granted,this may now be a fairly accurate presentation of the desperate condition of many council estates in Britain today,with years of neglect and ignorance by national and local government alike.The film does succeed in this sense,but you get the considerable feeling that it is pointless in trying to dramatise such events for a motion picture,as it is odds-on that very few people would want to pay money not to be entertained,which A WAY OF LIFE also succeeds achieving in spades.With no sympathetic or likable people around,it's no wonder.

Not surprisingly,A WAY OF LIFE was barely seen in a few art-houses before it's departure from cinemas.It is possible to do social realism with a dash of humour,nonchalance and charm,which would ensure a decent number of people watching it;Ken Loach,Mike Leigh and Shane Meadows have managed this over the years with their efforts;had the director here followed this example,the technical competence and decent acting on view may not have been the only aspect worth complementing;as it is,you respect A WAY OF LIFE,but in no way end up liking the finished product,or remembering it with any satisfaction or enthusiasm.

RATING:4 and a half out of 10.

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4 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

Tell me I'm wrong

Author: richarmorris from United Kingdom
13 August 2007

Saw this film on BBC2 late last night, and found it eminently watchable.The only obvious weak point for me was the casting of Brenda Blethyn-why oh why? I know what hits home for me, but do not fully understand the harsh criticisms of many. I wish I could understand these better, and I welcome a flood of response as to why this film does not hit the mark. It seemed to for me. Yes, I am a member of the middle classes, so I no doubt am out of touch with the realities of day to day life. I am admittedly quite ignorant of points of style etc...-so please , detractors, further explain in detail where this film falls short.It seems to me that the lack of redeeming features, and one dimensional aspect of the characters is a strength.I am all for somebody who follows Hamlet's advice to 'Hold the mirror up to nature.'Let there be more portrayal of things that are bleak.

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3 out of 9 people found the following review useful:

Absolutely nothing to offer

Author: webfabregas from Spain
21 August 2007

This is an extremely bad movie. I know that many people will argue that the movie is poor because of the low budget, but I strongly disagree. Several problems with the movie may have something to do with the low budget: a cinematography that simply does not let you see what is going on, terrible sound, extremely dis-articulate editing, no soundtrack, etc. However, my really big concern with this movie has to do with the things which, by themselves, don't necessarily require more money. I simply refuse to believe that among the young newcomers in the British cinema there is nobody better than the people that were "acting" here. The over-acting is extreme, the changes of mood are simply unbelievable and even B. Blethyn is terrible here. The script is a pile of oversimplified clichés which we have watched one thousand times before in TV movies, TV series and bad commercials FROM THE SIXTIES AND SEVENTIES. There is no sense of rhythm, no suspense, no interest or development of the characters. I am serious here: this movie has absolutely nothing to offer and I really want to know who provided the money to make it.

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2 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

The worst film I've ever seen! Not even joking.

Author: benlaimwolf from United Kingdom
7 October 2007

This film is so bad I watched it again with a friends so we could laugh together at some awful moments. The way the characters develop is so poor it's untrue. through the film they are doing what ever then bang! they are racists.

The DOP should never work again, it looked like an episode of Property Ladder or Wife Swap. Utter poo.

Everyone should watch this film as a comedy. The fact that this director had Bafta recognition has much to do with sex and ethic background rather than ability. With nobody financing anymore of her work is proof in the pudding. Shocking shocking film.

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4 out of 18 people found the following review useful:

Harshest & Bleakest Film I Have Seen Since Warzone

Author: krasny
12 November 2004

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

leigh-anne is a single mother, on benefit, living in dark, damp house, with sick baby

from this cheerful start the film spirals down to its tragic ending

well thats the review over with, now for some comments


movies that portray people from the arse end of society are not uncommon, what distinguishes a way of life from the plethora of sentimental portrayals of plucky and lovable characters, is that the main characters in a way of life are completely lacking in redeeming features and the film itself is about as unsentimental as it is possible to get

the central character, leigh-anne, is portrayed as an twisted evil bitch, who is surrounded by friends who are not really her friends

this is an example of how bad leigh-anne is:

a middle aged man comes up to her in a pub, obviously wanting to purchase her sexual services, to which she responds: "ain't you gonna buy me a drink first"

she starts a conversation with a girl a pub, who tells her: "me mam wont let me have a boyfriend till I'm 15"

leigh-anne responds with fake astonishment: "well thats ages away, pity you could have any boy in this place"

so she takes the girl out of the pub, and is followed by the middle aged man, who asks her how much? she says £30, he says he can get it for half that elsewhere, to which she says: "yeah but she ain't been had before"

she takes his money and says to the girl: "just open your legs and let him do the rest"

we see a parting shot of rough sex and the girl in pain

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