Mike Leigh

Life Is Sweet

Life Is Sweet

This invigorating film from Mike Leigh was his first international sensation. Melancholy and funny by turns, it is an intimate portrait of a working-class family in a suburb just north of London—an irrepressible mum and dad (Alison Steadman and Jim Broadbent) and their night-and-day twins, a bookish good girl and a troubled, ill-tempered layabout (Claire Skinner and Jane Horrocks). Leigh and his typically brilliant cast create, with extraordinary sensitivity and craft, a vivid, lived-in story of ordinary existence, in which even modest dreams—such as the father’s desire to open a food truck—carry enormous weight.

Film Info

  • Mike Leigh
  • United Kingdom
  • 1990
  • 103 minutes
  • Color
  • 1.85:1
  • English
  • Spine #659

Special Features

DIRECTOR-APPROVED SPECIAL EDITION

  • New, restored 2K digital film transfer, supervised by director of photography Dick Pope, with 2.0 surround DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack on the Blu-ray edition
  • New audio commentary featuring director Mike Leigh
  • Audio recording of a 1991 interview with Leigh at the National Film Theatre in London
  • Five short films written and directed by Leigh for the proposed television series Five-Minute Films, with a new audio introduction by Leigh
  • Plus: A booklet featuring a new essay by critic David Sterritt

New cover by Eric Skillman

Purchase Options

Special Features

DIRECTOR-APPROVED SPECIAL EDITION

  • New, restored 2K digital film transfer, supervised by director of photography Dick Pope, with 2.0 surround DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack on the Blu-ray edition
  • New audio commentary featuring director Mike Leigh
  • Audio recording of a 1991 interview with Leigh at the National Film Theatre in London
  • Five short films written and directed by Leigh for the proposed television series Five-Minute Films, with a new audio introduction by Leigh
  • Plus: A booklet featuring a new essay by critic David Sterritt

New cover by Eric Skillman

Life Is Sweet
Cast
Jim Broadbent
Andy
Alison Steadman
Wendy
Claire Skinner
Natalie
Jane Horrocks
Nicola
Stephen Rea
Patsy
Timothy Spall
Aubrey
David Thewlis
Nicola’s lover
Moya Brady
Paula
Credits
Director
Mike Leigh
Written by
Mike Leigh
Produced by
Simon Channing-Williams
Director of photography
Dick Pope
Edited by
Jon Gregory
Music
Rachel Portman
Production designer
Alison Chitty
Sound recordist
Malcolm Hirst

From The Current

The A to Z of Life Is Sweet
The A to Z of Life Is Sweet

The beginning of Mike Leigh’s new audio commentary track for Criterion’s release of his poignant domestic comedy-drama Life Is Sweet is just too charming not to share here. In these first few minutes, which span the film’s opening credits, the …

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Three Reasons: Life Is Sweet
Three Reasons: Life Is Sweet

aption for the video could go here and be however long it needed to be, within reason, of course.

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Life Is Sweet: Life Is Bittersweet
Life Is Sweet: Life Is Bittersweet

Mike Leigh’s breakthrough is a funny film about serious things, and an emotional and slyly political take on consumer culture.

By David Sterritt

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David and Nathan Zellner’s Top 10

Austin-based duo David and Nathan Zellner, whose new film Damsel is now in theaters, share a list of favorites that run the gamut from genre provocation to lyrical humanism.


This Week on the Criterion Channel
This Week on the Criterion Channel

A crackling dispatch from the kill-or-be-killed wilds of 1950s Manhattan, Alexander Mackendrick’s 1957 Sweet Smell of Success is now streaming in its full edition on the Criterion Channel on FilmStruck. Burt Lancaster stars as vicious Broadway goss…

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Mike Leigh in Minneapolis

Repertory Picks

Mike Leigh in Minneapolis

Mike Leigh’s 1990 comedy Life Is Sweet, showing at the Trylon microcinema as part of a monthlong retrospective of the director’s early films, presents an intimate portrait of working-class life in Thatcher-era north London.

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Bong Joon-ho’s Top 10

South Korean filmmaker Bong Joon-ho is the director of The Host (2006), Mother (2009), and Snowpiercer (2013).