A Dublin family races to recover their grandmother’s mattress — and its hidden stash of over a million euros in carefully squirreled-away savings — in this delightful comedy from director Lance Daly.


Contemporary World Cinema

Life's a Breeze

Lance Daly

Thirteen-year-old Dubliner Emma (Kelly Thornton) isn't too thrilled about being assigned the task of paying daily visits to her grandmother Nan (Fionnula Flanagan), who is nearly eighty, fiercely independent, and politely described by her offspring as "argumentative." With economic woes battering Ireland, and everyday life coming in for the occasional sucker punch, tensions percolate within Emma's clan — her thirtysomething uncle Colm (Pat Shortt) still lives with Nan and has made an unpleasant habit of borrowing money from Emma's mother.

What this family needs is a major windfall — and they might just get one. It's revealed that Nan has been squirrelling away cash in her mattress for decades, nearly a million in euros, she claims. If only her children hadn't decided to surprise their mother with a total house makeover — and tossed the mattress into the trash. A scouring of local landfills is undertaken, and soon enough the entire country will join in the hunt.

The title of Lance Daly's wonderful new comedy is more than a little ironic, yet Life's a Breeze does maintain a singularly breezy tone, balanced with moments of heartfelt connection across generational divides, and a remarkably hushed, captivating sequence that finds Emma exploring an abandoned building — another symbol of hard times.

Great humour springs from unwise expenditures, such as Colm's hiring of a male stripper dressed as a fireman to entertain Nan at her birthday party. But even while purse strings get tighter, other resources are found in great abundance, such as familial solidarity and resilience. So long as we hang on to these, things can only get so bad.



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