Review: ‘Family Life’

Director Ken Loach has succeeded in creating a disturbing and provocative film about a girl sinking into schizophrenia. David Mercer's succinct screenplay [from his TV play In Two Minds], Loach's probing direction and the sensitive acting ward off the pitfalls of self-consciousness, didactics and schematics.

Director Ken Loach has succeeded in creating a disturbing and provocative film about a girl sinking into schizophrenia. David Mercer’s succinct screenplay [from his TV play In Two Minds], Loach’s probing direction and the sensitive acting ward off the pitfalls of self-consciousness, didactics and schematics.

The parents, who have made firm middleclass lives for themselves, live on their prejudices and belief in the need for curing any rebelliousness in their children. One daughter has broken away but a younger one is still at home and unable to cut loose. When she gets pregnant there is parental outrage and a carefully planned abortion. But the girl loses job after job and her growing withdrawal from life has her parents seeking psychiatric help.

Sandy Ratcliff is effective as the weak but striving girl who is finally beaten by a system and misunderstanding. Originally a TV film, it has been effectively broadened without losing its intimacy. There are long talky scenes but they’re revealing and effective.

Family Life

UK

Production

Kestrel. Director Ken Loach; Producer Tony Garnett; Screenplay David Mercer; Camera Charles Stewart; Editor Roy Watts; Music Marc Wilkinson; Art Director William McCrow

Crew

(Color) Extract of a review from 1972. Running time: 105 MIN.

With

Sandy Ratcliff Bill Dean Grace Cave Malcolm Tierney Alan MacNaughton Michael Riddall
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