Life’s a Breeze is a quirky glimpse into the lives of a family struggling through hard times in Ireland, where long lineups at the unemployment office reflect the nationwide recession. For Emma, a young girl living in Dublin, sitting in class during lunch with nothing but a piece of bread and a banana is not only embarrassing — it has become a daily occurrence.
The film opens with Emma’s mother, Margaret, who orders the reluctant girl to check in on her grandmother, Nan, every day. At first, Emma is hesitant, saying that “she’s old and weird, and only ever wants to argue about things.” Eventually, through a series of events in which Emma becomes an observer, she begins to view her Nan in a new light.
Ultimately, the two end up understanding each other better than anyone else in the family, as Emma is considered a child, and Nan is often suspected of being senile and treated like a child as well.
Margaret seems to be the only one in the family with a relatively stable income, as her siblings continually ask her to cover their expenses. Emma’s aunt works as a dog groomer, but her hours are cut and she is left lining up for assistance, alongside her recently laid-off brother with two children and their live-at-home brother Colm.
The well-meaning family refurbishes Nan’s house and clears out their mother’s “junk,” as Colm calls it. The whole time Emma has acted as a decoy in order to her Nan on a day trip and get her out of the house. But Nan is not amused when she returns to find most of her possessions either dumped or sold without her knowledge. Their plan to help their mother dissolves when she reveals that the her old mattress contained her life savings: one million Euros.
This causes the family to scramble about the streets of Dublin, trying to find the old mattress. The chase leads them across town, to remote locations on the side of the road, and down into the dirtiest landfill sites. The situation forces the family to come together in a way they hadn’t done in years.
While the film is a mostly-realistic portrayal of family life, some moments verge on the ridiculous, and show how little Colm and his siblings seem to understand their mother, such as the scene during Nan’s birthday when they hire a firefighter stripper for entertainment.
While everyone desperately deliberates on how to find the mattress, Emma works together with her Nan. As the film develops, Nan and Emma develop a strong bond. She warms up to Emma, and though the family may think that Emma is watching over Nan, their relationship works both ways.
During her day as a decoy, Nan gives Emma a knitted hat with two dog ears. At first she only wears it in the presence of her Nan, but takes it off when she gets to her school. By the end, she is seen wearing it all the time.
The words ‘life’s a breeze’ are found on deodorizers that were placed around Nan’s refurnished house. As Colm tells her, “life’s a breeze, to keep the stink away.”
The name says it all. A combination of simple storytelling with a fun and light-hearted score makes the film a beautiful portrait of a family experiencing daily life together, and working towards a common goal — in this case, finding a missing mattress.
Life’s a Breeze is funny and heartwarming, with a memorable cast of characters. If one enjoys watching a simple, light-hearted film about a family fumbling through life and doing their best with each other, then this charming film will live up to your expectations.
Life’s a Breeze is now available on VOD, iTunes, DVD, and Blu-ray. For more information, visit magpictures.com/lifesabreeze.