Friday, September 19, 2014

Movie with Abe: Life’s a Breeze

Life’s a Breeze
Directed by Lance Daly
Released September 19, 2014

The latest Irish film to make its way to the United States, which premiered in its home country over a year ago, is “Life’s a Breeze,” the entertaining tale of an older woman (Fionnula Flanagan) whose family decides to clean out her house as a surprise for her, unaware that she has hidden almost a million euro inside what they thought to be trash. What ensues is an epic search by family and random devotees of the cause defined by a shared sense of camaraderie and hope. It may not be the most empathic or memorable film, but it sure is a lot of fun.

Flanagan is an actress who isn’t known for playing the warmest of characters. Her big American breakout in “The Others” was certainly creepy, and the mothers she played on “Brotherhood” and “Lost” were far from gentle. Her recent role in another Irish coproduction, “Tasting Menu,” was a bit lighter than usual, but it’s clear that she doesn’t tend to play warm and fuzzy. That works to this film’s advantage, since having a loveable old lady at its center wouldn’t be productive. Instead, Flanagan’s Nan is unimpressed even before she realizes her family threw out all her money, and though she is somewhat pleasant, she’s hardly a personality around which people can truly rally.

As a result, the energy of the film comes from the idea of a woman who saved all her money over the years and didn’t trust enough in the banks to take care of it, instead opting to hide it in her furniture so that she would know where it was. Upon realizing what they did, her family sets out to help her locate it again, uniting in a way that has far more substance than their shared effort to rid her of what they believe to be the possessions of a hoarder.

The true heart of “Life’s a Breeze” is Emma (Kelly Thornton), Nan’s granddaughter. She sees her grandmother in a different light than the rest of her family does, having known her only as the person she currently is. The connection between the two of them is a great one, and it, more than the search itself, keeps the film going. Writer-director Lance Daly, who previously made “Kisses,” has created another enjoyable film that manages to exist in its own universe where anything is possible if its protagonists put their minds to it.


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