The Irish film industry, as I’ve mentioned in the past, is still in the middle of producing quality content, and while Lance Daly’s latest offering Life’s a Breeze, won’t reinvent the wheel, it is a touching and heart warming tale with some inspired performances by a superb cast.
With a story that sees nearly a million euro hidden in a mattress that gets dumped, a Dublin family (of sons, daughters and grand kids) go on a quest to retrieve this wealthy mattress, otherwise their mother and grandmother (Fionnula Flanagan) will have lost her life's savings.
The movie wastes little time in establishing its characters and things get going rather quickly as Colm (Pat Shortt) and his siblings clear out their mothers old house, of 20 odd years of newspapers, school books and everything else she has hoarded over the time. Its when the realisation of the missing mattress hits, that things step up a gear and go on a rather touching journey which ultimately sees a grandmother and grand daughter team up and grow their relationship beyond the usual cranky teen / cranky granny one.
Dublin is well utilised as the backdrop to the movie with the likes of The Evening Herald, RTE Radio 1 (Joe Duffy makes a vocal appearance) and RTE in general been well used and adding a great little authenticity. Theres even a cameo from Late Late presenter Ryan Tubridy. And while local papers and what not will mean little to foreign audiences, it all paints a convincing picture.
Visually the movie is well shot with some beautiful cinematography in places, particularly at night but its the cast that are the real draw here. Besides the obvious chemistry between them all, Pat Shortt’s scrounger, simpleton character Colm, is played with oodles of personality and Pat brings a great innocence to the character, especially in the more lighter moments. Fionnula Flanagan is as likeable as Shortt and while I’d imagine she can do this type of role in her sleep, she is a joy to watch on screen and delivers more than her fair share of great one liners. The real shining star here though is new comer Kelly Thornton who evolves her role from beginning to end with sheer brilliance. A real star in the making.
Overall, Life’s a Breeze is a million miles away from giant robots and monsters and is a bizarre fit into the middle of a blockbuster season. But its well paced story highlights how important family is and while it could have done with a few more laughs, its genuinely a heart warming and touching watch, especially with a superbly performing cast. Its a small movie that continues the solid Irish output of films for the last few years and is definitely worth a viewing, especially if you can’t take any more explosions, brain dead dialogue and ripped torsos.