97 min | DivX 576x352 | 808 kb/s | 192 kb/s mp3 | 25 fps | 700 MB + 3% recovery record
English | Subtitles: Spanish and English .srt | Genre: Comedy/Drama
Just north of London live Wendy, Andy, and their twenty-something twins, Natalie and Nicola. Wendy clerks in a shop, leads aerobics at a primary school, jokes like a vaudevillian, agrees to waitress at a friend's new restaurant and dotes on Andy, a cook who forever puts off home remodeling projects, and with a drunken friend, buys a broken down lunch wagon. Natalie, with short neat hair and a snappy, droll manner, is a plumber; she has a holiday planned in America, but little else. Last is Nicola, odd man out: a snarl, big glasses, cigarette, mussed hair, jittery fingers, bulimic, jobless, and unhappy. How they interact and play out family conflict and love is the film's subject.
Filmed entirely in the north-London suburb of Enfield, "Life Is Sweet" is a contemplative comedy about people who aren't. Chiefly it's about the members of one lower-middle-class family: Wendy (Alison Steadman), a pretty woman of early middle age who laughs too much; her husband, Andy (Jim Broadbent), a good-natured fellow and professional cook, and their red-headed twin daughters, Natalie (Claire Skinner), who has found her calling as a plumber, and Nicola (Jane Horrocks), who says she wants to "write" (but doesn't) and stays home all day.
The family lives in comparative peace in a row house that Andy has never finished off properly. The front stoop still lacks the trellis he promised to build. Yet for al fresco dining, the backyard is furnished with an umbrella table and the sort of molded plastic chairs that can be stacked easily. Wendy is determinedly cheerful as she goes about her various self-assigned tasks. She works in a shop that sells children's clothes (many of them pretty ghastly) and is an enthusiastic aerobics instructor to a class of tubby little girls. She is a good wife and mother, but also an edgy one.
Nothing much goes right for the family, though nothing goes terribly wrong, except for their friend Aubrey (Timothy Spall). He is a cook who opens his own French restaurant, the Regret Rien. Its decor features a stuffed cat's head on the wall, a birdcage hanging from the ceiling to recall the spirit of Edith Piaf (nicknamed "the sparrow"), and candles stuck into empty wine bottles "for that bistro effect." Several choice items on Aubrey's menu: prune quiche, boiled bacon consomme and tongue in a rhubarb hollandaise sauce.
"Life Is Sweet," a title that should not be taken as irony, demands that the audience accept its meandering manner without expectations of the big dramatic event or the boffo laugh. It is very funny, but without splitting the sides.
The film moves easily from the broad jokes about Aubrey's restaurant to Nicola's scenes of very real desperation. At the center of it all is the substantial but not simply characterized relationship between Wendy and Andy. The movie regards them fairly, at their own level, without trying to be nice to them.
"Life Is Sweet" is also an actor's field day. Miss Steadman, Mr. Broadbent, Miss Horrocks, Mr. Thewlis and the others are a joy to watch, both for the vigor of their performances and for the immense satisfaction they seem to have had in getting those characters together. "Life Is Sweet" is a movie that breathes. Life Is Sweet
Vincent Canby, NY Times, October 25, 1991
La Vida es dulce
En el norte de Londres viven Wendy, Andy y sus hijos gemelos Natalie y Nicola. Wendy trabaja de camarera en el nuevo restaurante de una amiga, y Andy, cocinero, sueña con poner un negocio de hostelería. Esta comedia del director de ‘Secretos y mentiras’ cuenta los conflictos de familia que suceden entre estos personajes.
English subs by ib50 (KG). Subs en castellano de yonoseturco (Cine Clásico)