• R, 1 hr. 45 min.
  • Drama, Comedy
  • Directed By:
    Mike Leigh
    In Theaters:
    Mar 22, 1991 Wide
    On DVD:
    Mar 29, 2005
  • Republic Pictures Home Video

Movies Like Life Is Sweet

Opening

50% Sin City: A Dame to Kill For Aug 22
46% If I Stay Aug 22
—— When The Game Stands Tall Aug 22
7% Are You Here Aug 22
97% Love Is Strange Aug 22

Top Box Office

21% Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles $28.5M
92% Guardians of the Galaxy $25.1M
14% Let's Be Cops $17.8M
35% The Expendables 3 $15.9M
31% The Giver $12.3M
21% Into The Storm $7.9M
66% The Hundred-Foot Journey $7.2M
64% Lucy $5.5M
41% Step Up: All In $2.7M
62% Hercules $2.1M

Coming Soon

0% The November Man Aug 27
98% Starred Up Aug 27
—— As Above/So Below Aug 29
85% The Congress Aug 29
—— The Calling Aug 29

New Episodes Tonight

100% Defiance: Season 2
100% Garfunkel and Oates: Season 1
88% The Honorable Woman: Season 1
56% Married: Season 1
95% Rectify: Season 2
—— Rookie Blue: Season 5
39% Rush: Season 1
82% Satisfaction: Season 1
82% Welcome to Sweden: Season 1
41% Working the Engels: Season 1
77% You're the Worst: Season 1

Discuss Last Night's Shows

86% The Bridge (FX): Season 2
91% The Divide: Season 1
83% Extant: Season 1
—— Franklin & Bash: Season 4
—— Graceland: Season 2
—— Hot in Cleveland: Season 5
57% Legends: Season 1
—— Motive: Season 2
69% Mystery Girls: Season 1
100% Suits: Season 4
38% Taxi Brooklyn: Season 1
43% Young & Hungry: Season 1

Certified Fresh TV

86% The Bridge (FX): Season 2
83% Extant: Season 1
88% The Honorable Woman: Season 1
86% The Knick: Season 1
89% Manhattan: Season 1
97% Masters of Sex: Season 2
73% Murder in the First: Season 1
89% Outlander: Season 1
82% Satisfaction: Season 1
87% The Strain: Season 1
82% Welcome to Sweden: Season 1
77% You're the Worst: Season 1

Life Is Sweet Reviews

Page 1 of 9
Ross C

Super Reviewer

November 15, 2010
A portrait of Enfield chavdom in 1990. Crazy, ugly, genius.
Anthony L

Super Reviewer

April 13, 2010
Classic Mike Leigh - Unpretentious, unsweetened social realism that is loved by the pretentious, is as sweet as sugar and will have the BFI mob stating things like 'I knew those people/I ate in the Regret Rien/It's funny because it's true' . I love it, I'm in no way admitting that I'm pretentious in any way, I just love Mike Leigh's films but hate most other people who say they do, mainly the BFI mob. I hate the way Leigh has been treated by Hollywood but I feel it's nothing compared to how he's been treated in his own country and the city in which he resides. BFI and BAFTA owe him so much but always shit on him, it makes me quite upset for him! Not that he needs all these awards you understand, it would just be nice to see him rightfully recognised.
Nicki M

Super Reviewer

February 5, 2009
This is a great movie. Jane Horrocks is excellent in it. Funny while being sad at the same time. Must watch it again sometime.
Cameron W. Johnson
Cameron W. Johnson

Super Reviewer

August 6, 2014
I don't exactly know how sweet these people's lives are, but I can see where a mistake would be made, because with these folks' lifestyles, their teeth are bound to rot out. Oh no, I don't necessarily mean that these people are so struggling that they have serious hygiene problems, as much as I mean that they don't have too much worse hygiene than the usual Brit. This side of working-class life in London isn't quite "Naked" bleak, but it's still Mike Leigh telling us all that England isn't exactly crackerjack, even for Jim Broadbent. I don't care how upset Broadbent gets, because he's always bound to put you into a bit of a perky mood, so maybe Leigh didn't make the best decision when he hooked Broadbent up with Alison Steadman in this film. It was years after this film before Leigh and Steadman divorced, but I'd imagine Steadman thought about how much more charming her home life with Broadbent would be than hers with pessimistic ol' Leigh, no matter how much Leigh tried to make her think otherwise through this film. Well, maybe this film isn't all that pessimistic, although it is realistic, and in a lot of cases, reality can be worse than you'd think, especially when you're stuck with fast-food vans, one daughter who is a plumber, and another daughter who is bulimic, and probably can't understand even what you are saying. Man, the Brits do have it a little rough, so it's a good thing this film is funny, and I'm not just saying that because there is plenty to challenge your attention in this film extending beyond the indistinctive accents.

There isn't really much to develop with these characters, yet there's still something kind of undercooked about them, to where they often feel like thin types in the context of a story that is a little loosely set in reality, and feels a little histrionic due to your not being able to get all that firmly invested. If the underdevelopment doesn't get you invested enough to embrace the story of limited believability, it doesn't get you invested enough to get over how blasted obnoxious these reasonably well-drawn and very well-portrayed characters are, because whether it be Alison Steadman's cloyingly loud Wendy, or Jim Broadbent's overly well-intentioned Andy, or Claire Skinner's sassy Natlie, or Jane Horrock's aggravatingly creepy, sexist, spiteful, lazy, and altogether self-centered Nicola, the leads - admittedly made all the more challenging by abrasive North London accents - tend to try your patience throughout a meandering narrative. The film is more-or-less driven by filler, punctuated by only so much of a sense of plot progression, but if nothing else hinders a sense of momentum, it's the British dryness of Mike Leigh's storytelling. Leigh always has something to work with, so no matter how much he dries things out, the film never dull, and rarely less than fun, but it's still only fun in a very British sense, remaining aimless with all of its subdued unraveling of a minimalist story. The weightier aspects which define the heart of this film are here, but they take their time kicking in, as this dramedy is primarily about average folks going about average lifestyles with only so much conflict, and only so much going on at all. The final product is simply rather inconsequential, as its story is thin and its storytelling is either undercooked or draggy, and anchored by obnoxious characters who help in making the film something of a challenge. Still, this is a challenge reasonably worth taking on, because no matter how problematic the film is, as I said, it's fairly fun, and even rather pretty.

There's not much to Dick Pope's cinematography, but those subtle little stresses on lighting grace the film with a handsome brightness that is almost as perky as Rachel Portman's uniquely Euro-Jazz and light classical-style score, which is lovely, and adds to the charm of the film. Whether it be because it's attempting to be ironic as a deconstruction of the traditional, middle-class family unit, or whatever, this film relies on a lighthearted, humbling style that is not only very well-sold, but enjoyable in livening up the film and complimenting its themes. As for the script which ought to be doing the same, Mike Leigh gets either carried away or too subdued in the structure of storytelling, but he still turns in a very colorful script with interesting characters and sharp dialogue that, when actually comprehensible, is plenty amusing. Of course, the color of the script cannot thrive without Leigh delivering as a colorful directorial storyteller, and sure enough, even though Leigh's direction relies on a certain thoughtfulness which often retards momentum, the pacing of the film never falls to a dull crawl, as Leigh keeps the scene structuring tight and busy enough to consistently entertain, until slowing down in time for the occasional dramatic beat. The film is fairly effective for what it is, and although what it is is rather inconsequential and, well, a tad abrasive, when it's fairly fun, it's thought-provoking, and it's never less than charming, even with the aggravating characters. If there is charm to the roles, they thrive on the leads' performances, for even Jane Horrocks, with her transformative convincingness and dramatic effectiveness, endears you a bit to her almost seemingly irredeemable Nicola character, while the colorful Jim Broadbent, perky Alison Steadman, Claire Skinner, and almost show-stealing Timothy Spall add to the fun factor of a film that, without them, would be consistently obnoxious. Sure, the film gets on your nerves plenty of times, and it doesn't offer you too much beyond that, but what this is, it's pretty enjoyable, with compelling highlights.

In closing, the characters are underdeveloped, hard to fully buy into, and obnoxious, challenging your patience about as much as aimlessness and dry spells to the telling of a thin story, thus, the final product is inconsequential, yet through tasteful cinematography and score work, clever scripting, colorful direction, and worthy performances, Mike Leigh's "Life is Sweet" stands as an entertaining and occasionally touching dramedy.

2.5/5 - Fair
John B

Super Reviewer

May 31, 2010
Yuck! What a disappointment in going back to see classic Mike Leigh. What a way he has come since then and thank God. This was not particularly memorable. For Leigh completists only.
Chris B

Super Reviewer

January 6, 2014
At the same time the film is sweet and good natured and darker when dealing with the real issues underneath the seemingly normal exterior. Life is Sweet is a slice-of-life study of a lower middle-class family which is made up of a Wife and husband both of whom are young for having 20-something year old twin girls, both of whom live at home still. They have some physical similarities but are also vastly different in their fashions and outward appearance as well as mental opposites, Natalie who has a boyish haircut and fashion is optimistic and cheerful while Nicola is coping with some serious depression and anorexia/bulimia issues and has a rather cold disposition towards the world and especially her family. The film dives into the everyday lifestyle of the family and a few close friends and acquaintances but delves underneath to the more serious psychological issues and troubles of those involved and makes for a sentimental look on family life.
Mike T

Super Reviewer

September 10, 2009
What initially comes across as an absurd comedy is actually a sensitive and socially aware study of relationships within a family. This is a very funny film, but it manages to tap into all aspects of the emotional spectrum and works as a drama as well. All of the performances are phenomenal. As a big David Thewlis fan, I was particularly amused by his cameo. I highly recommend this movie.
June 26, 2013
I enjoyed the film. It kind of surprised me because I never thought i would go for this kind of film, at least to the extent that I liked this one. But the movie is very charming, before I knew it I found myself identifying with the family. I would recommend this to anyone.
nanoqna
January 16, 2007
everyones already said tis. but i think tis the best movie of the year. the charater is so real really makes me think.
Cameron W. Johnson
Cameron W. Johnson

Super Reviewer

August 6, 2014
I don't exactly know how sweet these people's lives are, but I can see where a mistake would be made, because with these folks' lifestyles, their teeth are bound to rot out. Oh no, I don't necessarily mean that these people are so struggling that they have serious hygiene problems, as much as I mean that they don't have too much worse hygiene than the usual Brit. This side of working-class life in London isn't quite "Naked" bleak, but it's still Mike Leigh telling us all that England isn't exactly crackerjack, even for Jim Broadbent. I don't care how upset Broadbent gets, because he's always bound to put you into a bit of a perky mood, so maybe Leigh didn't make the best decision when he hooked Broadbent up with Alison Steadman in this film. It was years after this film before Leigh and Steadman divorced, but I'd imagine Steadman thought about how much more charming her home life with Broadbent would be than hers with pessimistic ol' Leigh, no matter how much Leigh tried to make her think otherwise through this film. Well, maybe this film isn't all that pessimistic, although it is realistic, and in a lot of cases, reality can be worse than you'd think, especially when you're stuck with fast-food vans, one daughter who is a plumber, and another daughter who is bulimic, and probably can't understand even what you are saying. Man, the Brits do have it a little rough, so it's a good thing this film is funny, and I'm not just saying that because there is plenty to challenge your attention in this film extending beyond the indistinctive accents.

There isn't really much to develop with these characters, yet there's still something kind of undercooked about them, to where they often feel like thin types in the context of a story that is a little loosely set in reality, and feels a little histrionic due to your not being able to get all that firmly invested. If the underdevelopment doesn't get you invested enough to embrace the story of limited believability, it doesn't get you invested enough to get over how blasted obnoxious these reasonably well-drawn and very well-portrayed characters are, because whether it be Alison Steadman's cloyingly loud Wendy, or Jim Broadbent's overly well-intentioned Andy, or Claire Skinner's sassy Natlie, or Jane Horrock's aggravatingly creepy, sexist, spiteful, lazy, and altogether self-centered Nicola, the leads - admittedly made all the more challenging by abrasive North London accents - tend to try your patience throughout a meandering narrative. The film is more-or-less driven by filler, punctuated by only so much of a sense of plot progression, but if nothing else hinders a sense of momentum, it's the British dryness of Mike Leigh's storytelling. Leigh always has something to work with, so no matter how much he dries things out, the film never dull, and rarely less than fun, but it's still only fun in a very British sense, remaining aimless with all of its subdued unraveling of a minimalist story. The weightier aspects which define the heart of this film are here, but they take their time kicking in, as this dramedy is primarily about average folks going about average lifestyles with only so much conflict, and only so much going on at all. The final product is simply rather inconsequential, as its story is thin and its storytelling is either undercooked or draggy, and anchored by obnoxious characters who help in making the film something of a challenge. Still, this is a challenge reasonably worth taking on, because no matter how problematic the film is, as I said, it's fairly fun, and even rather pretty.

There's not much to Dick Pope's cinematography, but those subtle little stresses on lighting grace the film with a handsome brightness that is almost as perky as Rachel Portman's uniquely Euro-Jazz and light classical-style score, which is lovely, and adds to the charm of the film. Whether it be because it's attempting to be ironic as a deconstruction of the traditional, middle-class family unit, or whatever, this film relies on a lighthearted, humbling style that is not only very well-sold, but enjoyable in livening up the film and complimenting its themes. As for the script which ought to be doing the same, Mike Leigh gets either carried away or too subdued in the structure of storytelling, but he still turns in a very colorful script with interesting characters and sharp dialogue that, when actually comprehensible, is plenty amusing. Of course, the color of the script cannot thrive without Leigh delivering as a colorful directorial storyteller, and sure enough, even though Leigh's direction relies on a certain thoughtfulness which often retards momentum, the pacing of the film never falls to a dull crawl, as Leigh keeps the scene structuring tight and busy enough to consistently entertain, until slowing down in time for the occasional dramatic beat. The film is fairly effective for what it is, and although what it is is rather inconsequential and, well, a tad abrasive, when it's fairly fun, it's thought-provoking, and it's never less than charming, even with the aggravating characters. If there is charm to the roles, they thrive on the leads' performances, for even Jane Horrocks, with her transformative convincingness and dramatic effectiveness, endears you a bit to her almost seemingly irredeemable Nicola character, while the colorful Jim Broadbent, perky Alison Steadman, Claire Skinner, and almost show-stealing Timothy Spall add to the fun factor of a film that, without them, would be consistently obnoxious. Sure, the film gets on your nerves plenty of times, and it doesn't offer you too much beyond that, but what this is, it's pretty enjoyable, with compelling highlights.

In closing, the characters are underdeveloped, hard to fully buy into, and obnoxious, challenging your patience about as much as aimlessness and dry spells to the telling of a thin story, thus, the final product is inconsequential, yet through tasteful cinematography and score work, clever scripting, colorful direction, and worthy performances, Mike Leigh's "Life is Sweet" stands as an entertaining and occasionally touching dramedy.

2.5/5 - Fair
July 3, 2014
Forgot about this movie...saw it 22 years ago when I lived in London. Very funny and "Bubbles" from "AbFab" is in it :)
May 21, 2014
Mike Leigh's slice-of-life dramedy that says we may all do disgusting things, but that doesn't make us disgusting people.
May 12, 2014
I think the critics praise of this is way overdone. I kept thinking the movie was doing character development and then the story would begin...but then the movie ended.
March 23, 2014
First class film from one of the great modern directors.
March 11, 2014
This movie was utter trash and dreadful. After 48 minutes I just turned it off and put it back in the box and will forget about it. zero stars.
Chris B

Super Reviewer

January 6, 2014
At the same time the film is sweet and good natured and darker when dealing with the real issues underneath the seemingly normal exterior. Life is Sweet is a slice-of-life study of a lower middle-class family which is made up of a Wife and husband both of whom are young for having 20-something year old twin girls, both of whom live at home still. They have some physical similarities but are also vastly different in their fashions and outward appearance as well as mental opposites, Natalie who has a boyish haircut and fashion is optimistic and cheerful while Nicola is coping with some serious depression and anorexia/bulimia issues and has a rather cold disposition towards the world and especially her family. The film dives into the everyday lifestyle of the family and a few close friends and acquaintances but delves underneath to the more serious psychological issues and troubles of those involved and makes for a sentimental look on family life.
Matty Stanfield
December 20, 2013
This film is perfect. If you love film, you do not want to miss an opportunity to see it. Steadman and Bradbent manage to both warm and break our hearts. Nothing more needs to be said.
November 16, 2013
So goddamn good. A clear influence on Step Brothers and Napoleon Dynamite, but nothing like those movies. Perfectly blends comedy and drama. And takes the comedy aspects as seriously as the drama.
August 27, 2013
Only Mike Leigh can do this kind of magic and it makes one wish he had the insatiable need to make films at breakneck pace; if only he could be our British Woody Allen. Not only is he wanting to see every character he introduces to us as honestly as possible and with just the slightest edge of caricature, but he also has the gall to try and suggest to us that beyond all the hint at tragedy and misunderstanding, sometimes we are all doing ok, inside our skins, going along as best we can. This is his celebration of family and food, although you can see a handful of other themes to play with, and nothing comes across as cliché or hackneyed. A film to savor and another gleeful example of Leigh's humanity.
February 21, 2008
By the end of "Life is Sweet," we are treading close to the stuff of life itself - to the way we all struggle and make do, compromise some of our dreams and insist on the others.
Page 1 of 9
Find us on:                     
Help | About | Jobs | Critics Submission | Press | API | Licensing | Mobile