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Reviews » Blu-ray Reviews » Life's a Breeze (Blu-ray)
Life's a Breeze (Blu-ray)
Magnolia Home Entertainment // R // January 20, 2015 // Region A
List Price: $26.98 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Ryan Keefer | posted January 26, 2015 | E-mail the Author
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The Movie:

You know how you find a small part within the story of a movie that you would like to see more of, and you do not get it? OK, well, take that part, and place that within the context of a film that seems to be content with near-complacency in its storytelling. Makes you a tiny bit frustrated, yes? While telling a barebones story may be an interesting concept, the execution is a whole other story, and the latest to step up to the plate to try this is the Irish film Life's A Breeze.

Written and directed by Lance Daly (The Good Doctor), Nan (Fionnula Flanagan, Tasting Menu) is a widower who is letting Colm (Pat Shortt, Calvary), one of her sons, live with her while he tries to find work. One day, Colm and his siblings decide to modernize Nan's home and clean out some of the long-held things in it, such as the decades-old mattress Nan has used. What the family finds out from her is that Nan has quietly put away money in the mattress through those years, as much as a million Euros. So the family starts out to try and find out where the now-disposed mattress is and reclaim it.

As Nan, Flanagan turns in a steadfast yet welcoming performance, and of particular note are the scenes she shares with Emma (Kelly Thornton), her granddaughter. Emma is a bit of an apathetic figure that sees Nan as your typical grandmother, one who should be kept at arm's length. But she realizes over the course of the film that her grandmother has her own experiences and feelings, made clearest to Emma as when Nan talks about the loss of her husband. They have their own experiences trying to find the mattress, but in terms of takeaways from the movie, that may be the one.

Shortt is there to provide more of a comic slant, with Colm falling for an elaborate joke about winning the lottery, and seeing his reaction while shirtless and shaving cream on his face is nice, but does not seem to come off with the level of yuks that perhaps Daly intended for it. Still, Colm seems to have an understated sense of purpose when it comes to finding the mattress. There may be an occasional error in judgment for him, but in a weird way perhaps he sees the returning of the mattress as more than just reclamation to Nan. Maybe it is almost an apology of sorts for his current state. The film does not get too involved in it, using inference more than elaboration.

If there was a problem with Life's A Breeze to pinpoint, it would appear that dealing in inferences and its avoidance to actually get the characters involved in anything else is the biggest drawback. The million-dollar mattress focuses more on how they get it back than its impact on those trying to do same. Additionally frustrating is that when they spent a moment or two on the latter it actually seems to work, like Emma's scenes with Nan. The lack of priority to the emotional consequence in sacrifice of the task can be equally summed up by the possibility that the film focuses more on the charm of its characters than by what may get involved in their lives. And this lack of focus on conflict harms the movie in the process.

For as engaging and as the family is and for as uniquely charming as this quest would be for them, you could almost sense that the characters in Life's A Breeze live by this title more than you would expect. Which is okay, but to find a story that will make this charming without realizing there will be some gaps in telling a story for them is tough, and I do not think Daly accomplishes this. The same breeze that found me within these people's lives and experiences make me just as eager to get out when it's done.

The Blu-ray:
The Video:

Magnolia trots Life's A Breeze out with a 2.35:1 presentation and uses the AVC encode for Blu-ray, and the results are not shabby. The film tends to use darker lit moments more than expected and the lighting for them makes for a nice contrast against the dark night. During the daylight sequences the Irish skies look natural without the whites looking too hot, and image detail is decent though at times tends to stand out, like when Emma and Nan are considering what to do next, the detail in their faces and their winter hats is kind of impressive. It is a fine little transfer.

The Sound:

The DTS-HD MA 5.1 lossless track is okay though not completely worth writing home to mother about (or in this case, trying to get her old mattress from the landfill). There are not a lot of moments for the satellite speakers to show off and sonic activity is subtle, bordering on inconsistent. Dialogue tends to fluctuate during the middle of the film, but it is not so prevalent that it could be a problem. Things are dialogue-driven and proud of it, I suppose, but considering the source there is not that much of a soundstage to show off.

Extras:

Zippy skippy.

Final Thoughts:

If one is looking for light emotional fare with a laugh or two focused inside, then by all means Life's A Breeze is what you should consider. But it should be noted that if you want more out of these nice characters, you are not really going to get it. If you are fine with that then this film works. I did and I wasn't. Technically, the Blu-ray is average though it could have used some interviews or something. A nice rental departure from the norm.

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