Film: Life Is Sweet 15 rating Year: 1990
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Country: UK Genre: Comedy / Drama
Director: Mike Leigh
Starring: Jim Broadbent, Alison Steadman, Jane Horrocks, Claire Skinner, Timothy Spall, Stephen Rea, David Thewlis

Also see our Guide to Mike Leigh, or visit our Mike Leigh UK or Mike Leigh US stores, or our reviews of other Mike Leigh films Bleak Moments, Career Girls, High Hopes, Naked and Secrets and Lies.

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Life Is Sweet Synopsis - Life Is Sweet is set on the outskirts of north London and centres around Andy. Andy is the head Chef in the high pressure professional kitchen, and he is aware the effect of the stress is having on him and he is looking for a way out. His wife Wendy, works in a children's clothes shop and also teaches aerobic dance at a primary school. They have two twin daughters in their early twenties. First is Natalie, a plumbers mate and something of a tomboy, who is self assured and satisfied with her life. The other twin is Nicola, she is an unemployed chain smoking, aggressive bundle of nerves. Andy buys a a small caravan (which looks fit for nothing other than the scrap heap) which he plans to turn into a hot dog van but none of his family can see the potential. Wendy agrees to waitress at a mutual friend new restaurant, which unfortunately has no customers as no one knows about the grand opening. But how will things pan out when Nicola's bulimia starts to spiral out of control and becomes apparent to the family.

Review of Life Is Sweet - Life Is Sweet is definitely one of Mike Leigh's best films. Although it does suffer some stylistically inconsistent performances, the story at the heart of the film is actually very good. The performances of both Jim Broadbent and Alison Steadman is of the highest standard (as you would expect from such accomplished actors), but the most impressive performances are two very different ones - those of the twins (played by Jane Horrocks and Claire Skinner) whose portrayal of the polar opposite siblings are each in their own ways absolutely stunning. Add into that some great cameo appearances from Stephen Rea, David Thewlis and in particular Timothy Spall and you have really very good film indeed.
The reasons I recommend Life Is Sweet are: 1. Superb performances throughout 2. Very good story.