I found this film through the Wikipedia page on films containing BDSM. The kinky content is minimal, but it’s still a fun watch. Well, I don’t know if ‘fun’ is the correct word. It’s a Mike Leigh film, so ‘painfully accurate portrayal of awful people’ is a better descriptor. Though compared to some of his other films, these characters weren’t as punch-in-the-throatable.
What I’m saying is, if you’re looking for a film based around BDSM, this isn’t for you. There’s only one brief scene involving David Thewlis (better known to today’s audiences as Professor Lupin) eating chocolate spread off Jane Horrock’s (better known as Bubble from Absolutely Fabulous) bare chest whilst she’s tied to the bed.
If you’re into sometimes-painfully-realistic comedy then keep reading.
There’s the brash, braying-like-a-donkey mum, Wendy (Alison Stedman) who teaches dance class and clearly loves her husband and daughters.
The husband, Andy (Jim Broadbent), is one of those good-hearted, get-rich-quick types who falls for every lie his con artist of a friend (Stephen Rea) tells him in order to wheedle a few hundred more quid out of him.
Their twin daughters Natalie and Nicola (excellent casting—they really do look like twins) (Claire Skinner and Jane Horrocks) couldn’t be more different. Natalie just wants everyone to get on and to get on with it and Nicola is a revolutionary (sort of) and a feminist (so she says). But she doesn’t leave her room very much, choosing instead to spend most of her time scowling.
The family is friends with a man named Aubrey (Timothy Spall) who will be opening a restaurant very soon and it’s looking a bit of a disaster. He hires a woman to help in the kitchen and they have an experience that could be considered kinky, but I don’t know. It was just odd.
Mike Leigh films tend to be more character than plot driven and this one is no different. Life is Sweet is a snapshot of a certain sort of person in a certain period of time in a certain part of England. It was released in 1990 so all of the actors look about twelve, which is entertaining in itself.
It definitely won’t be for everyone, but for those with a certain sense of humour I recommend it. 4/5
A personal note about the one for-definite BDSM scene: I’ve never had an interest in either having food eaten off me nor eating food off another person, but during that scene, Thewlis says something to the effect of, ‘I can’t keep going, I’m full. I’m going to throw up!’ And that problem hadn’t occurred to me as something to consider in that sort of scene. ‘Oh, must skip lunch. I’m eating dessert off my girlfriend this evening—an enormous tiramisu! Don’t want to ruin it by hurling!’