Directed by: Lance Daly
Written by: Lance Daly
Produced by: Jessica Ask, Lance Daly, Macdara Kelleher, Martin Persson, Seamus McInerney
Stars: Fionnula Flanagan, Kelly Thornton, Pat Shortt, Eva Birthistle, David Bendito, Brian Gleeson, Lesley Conroy, Philip Judge
Getting rid of old useless stuff can be quite a painful challenge. Particularly, old things are dear to elderly people, because each and every item carries memories of the past. Throwing them away feels like throw some sweet memories, which could warm hearts during cold winter nights. Nan (Fionnula Flanagan) does not keeping her old stuff only because old memories: she has a whole fortune securely hidden in her mattress. Fifty years of her savings – to be more precise – nearly a million Euros lies inside the old mattress.
Colm (Pat Shortt) asks Emma (Kelly Thornton) to accompany her grandmother – Nan for a walk and orders her not to be back until evening. While Nan is out, the family prepares a surprise for the charming elderly lady by cleaning up her house and throws away all her old stuff, which belong to the previous century. The mattress is among those discarded belongings. When Nan is back home, she finds herself in a totally cleaned up house. Now, the biggest surprise awaits the family, as she confesses about the one million Euros in her mattress, which her dearest family members have just thrown away. This unfortunate event is to bring the family together in a search for the lost fortune in the streets of Dublin. Nevertheless, they are destined to find something of a much bigger valuable than money – love and family unity.
When it comes to European films, I will probably never stop repeating my strong belief that through their films the authors from old continent always try to teach us something more than catches the eye at the first glance. As to films about family relationships with elderly people, I should probably remind you about recent film by Alexander Payne, in which the American director shares his own perspective of how important is respect towards seniors, even though sometimes is might be very difficult. Unlike Payne’s “Nebraska”, Lance Daly’s Irish-Swedish co-production “Life’s a Breeze” tells the story of a totally sane and lovely old woman, who just happens to save all of her fortune in a quite strange place – her mattress. It is important to mention, that the family does not give Nan a hard time and instead tried to do their best to bring her mattress back.
Writer/director Lance Daly manages to tell us a sweet and touching story of a family who unites to help their beloved mother – Nanny. Daly’s script is quite heartwarming. He makes us fall completely in love with his characters, who are so kind and understanding. Of course, at some point, they find it hard to believe that their dearest Nan has that much money; they would rather think that she is just daydreaming. Although for Lance Daly’s characters money is very important, it never outvalues the family, dignity and respect. Money can’t buy those values.
Lance Daly’s creates the beautiful world of “Life’s a Breeze”. The entire case brings them alive on screen as a happy family, who just get a little crazy happy about the fortune they might get and become genuinely upset when they do not get it. But this film is not about winning the lottery or getting back a lost mattress: it is about life – full of precious moments. As viewers we are all invited to join Nan and Emma to celebrate the unity of their family unity as our own. The real joy and delight of the film is Emma (this role is the first appearance of the young screen talent Kelly Thornton). It goes without saying that Primetime Emmy winner Fionnula Flannigan is the treasure of Irish cinema. The two actresses share incredibly touching scenes together. Thornton’s youthful naivety and pureness of heart is sometimes all we need to see on the newcomer’s face. Yet until that moment comes, let’s spend eighty minutes of our life laughing, crying and rooting for a happy outcome for this incredible family.