life is sweet

An early film by Mike Leigh, champion of working-class British life, this often hilarious portrait of a slightly off-beat family. Dad’s dream, much to the chagrin of his family, is to own a chip wagon. The teenage twin daughters can’t stand each other. One twin who refers to everyone as “fascist” is also a border-line anorexic. Jane Horrocks [Little Voice, Career Girls] is perfect as the fascism obsessed teen. Believe it or not, this is a wonderfully uplifting film, and true to it’s title, life is sweet. [uk, 1990]

secrets and lies

The gritty story of a successful black adoptee who tracks down her birth mother only to discover mom is not only psychologically unstable and barely educated, but also white. Add a couple battling infertility, and an unforgettable family reunion, and you have skeletons tumbling out of the closet. Raw, painful, and hilarious, Mike Leigh’s film is the most powerful exploration of the fallout of closed adoption records to date. [uk, 1996]