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.