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Family Life [DVD]

Sandy Ratcliff , Bill Dean , Ken Loach    Suitable for 15 years and over   DVD
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
Price: 13.90 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Product details

  • Actors: Sandy Ratcliff, Bill Dean, Malcolm Tierney, Hilary Martin, Michael Riddall
  • Directors: Ken Loach
  • Writers: David Mercer
  • Format: PAL
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 4:3 - 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: 15
  • Studio: Studiocanal
  • DVD Release Date: 25 Jun 2007
  • Run Time: 103 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 51,089 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)


Product Description

Ken Loach directs this moving documentary-style drama of 19-year-old Janice (Sandy Ratcliff), who begins to suffer from schizophrenia after having a traumatic abortion. Her family struggle and fail to find a cause for her behaviour, and to find a treatment that works - but both they and the medical experts with whom Janice comes into contact are unable or unwilling to recognise that a large part of her difficulties stem from her relationship with her parents.

Product Description

United Kingdom released, PAL/Region 2 DVD: LANGUAGES: English ( Mono ), SPECIAL FEATURES: Interactive Menu, Scene Access, SYNOPSIS: Released in England as Wednesday's Child, this earnest socially conscious drama explores the generation-gap between a pair of overbearing, strict parents and their rebellious, pregnant daughter Sandy Ratcliff. First they force her to get an abortion. Then mom and dad further exert their power over Ratcliff by locking her out of the house until she ceases her troublesome ways. When this fails to 'tame' the girl, the parents force her into psychiatric treatment. Subjected to shock therapy, Sandy ends up a shell of a human being, little more than a case study for those who've robbed her of her individuality. Shot in documentary fashion, Family Life won a prize at the 1972 Berlin Film Festival. ...Family Life ( Wednesday's Child )

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Customer Reviews

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4.8 out of 5 stars
4.8 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
Format:VHS Tape
It isn't often that a film scares me, but with this one even the theme music was disquieting. It isn't often that a film plays on my mind to the point where I lose sleep, but this one did...
I could write a great deal about the plot of Family Life, but I won't. It would be pointless, for this is a film you just have to see. Admirers of Ken Loach moved by his controversial,(albeit fictional) docudrama Cathy Come Home and his North of England classic Kes who have not for some reason taken in this movie should do so now to gain additional insight into Loach's creative abilities. His detractors - and there are a few - should also obtain a copy, as I guarantee it will purge them of any ideas they have of KL as a 60s-70s overlap sentimentalist. There is no sloppiness here, and anyone who gets this film desiring some real or imagined nostalgia of the time when hair was long and tramps well-mannered is likely to be disappointed.
The film stars (future EastEnders) actress Sandy Ratcliff as Janice Bailden, the late teens-early 20s daughter of middle class parents on a new estate. Already the veteran of several dead-end jobs, including one sweeping up in a hairdresser's salon, her behaviour starts to show signs of being erratic, and after an altercation with her mother results in her picking up a breadknife with possible intent, medical help is sought.
What follows is a harrowing portrayal of mental health care as it was at that point in British history, and a grimly factual outlining of the conflict between modern methods in psychiatric treatment and more archaic ones.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars polemic guised as naturalism 28 Mar 2014
This is a polemical retelling via David Mercer of Laing's great book The Divided Self of 1960. Laing was himself from what might be called a toxic family, his mother as instance having burned the little wooden horse on wheels he had as an infant, according to his autobiography, as "she thought I was getting too fond of it". Toxic parenting he came to see as instrumental in schizoid mental breakdowns where psychotic language dismissed as "scizophrenic" could in fact be seen as presenting symbolic overviews of the totalised situation in which the "patient" found themselves. In the Divided Self Laing extends this view to consider as toxic the triangle between doctor, students and patient in the psychiatrist Kraepelin's quoted 1905 parading of a schizophrenic before a class of medical students; in the Family Life film this demonstration is presented as if a contemporary (1971) conclusion to the film's proceedings.

After the extraordinary brilliance of his debut book The Divided Self, Laing progressed over years to become a kind of cult guru figure, having substituted the notion of the toxic family to a view of the world as itself globally toxic through violence deceit and miltary carnage; he came to romanticise psychotic breakdowns as "breakthroughs"; and to equate psychosis in the face of this toxic world almost as shamanic visionariness; this ran alongside an increasing obsession with supposed prenatal traumatic experience in individuals as presenting the need for "rebirthing"—a curious melange of Scottish born-again evangelicism and New Age mysticism.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Has heart, substance and relevance..." 27 Dec 2011
By Sindri
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
British social realist director Ken Loach`s third feature film, an adaptation of the television play "In Two Minds" (1967) which was written by David Mercer (1928-1980) and directed by Ken Loach, was shot on location in Britain, and tells the story about 19-year-old Janice who has been brought up in a very strict working-class family. She lives with her mother and father who thinks she is irresponsible because she often changes jobs. Janice doesn`t do what her parents want her to do and she stands up to them, so they decide that she is sick, talks her into having an abortion because they don`t think she is fit to be a mother, sends her to a psychiatrist and eventually to a mental health institution.

Acutely directed and with a straightforward narrative, this quietly paced and dialog-driven British independent film about social alienation and family relations touches the theme of Schizophrenia, and portrays a quiet study of character with a pointedly understated performance by Sandy Ratcliffe in her debut feature film role as a young woman who`s way towards independence and self respect is obstructed by her parents, who are more interested in giving her directions and criticism rather than giving her the encouragement she needs to live her own life. This compassionate, realistic and social documentary drama from the early 1970s, captures the failure in communication, the generational differences and the involuntary surrender of a 19-year-old woman who is being oppressed by her caretakers.

Ken Loach has a take on depicting stories about individuals who are misconceived and wrongfully treated by society, and his gentle and attentive approach is commendable. As his second feature film "Kes" (1969), "Family Life" has heart, substance and relevance, and is a fine introduction to the works of one of Britain`s greatest directors.
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