Polish Cinema: My Wonderful Life (Lukasz Grzegorzek, 2021, Poland)

The third feature film from director Lukasz Grzegorzek, My Wonderful Life (Moje wspaniale zycie) is a tragicomic midlife crisis film starring Agata Buzek as Joanna 'Jo' Lisiecka, an English teacher at a school in a small city. She lives in a crowded apartment with her family - self-absorbed husband (and the principal of the school) Witek, a mother with Alzheimer's, her son, daughter-and-law and their baby, and her other teenage son. Needless to say, it is chaos, and Jo attempts to escape this chaos through refuge at the apartment she inherited from her parents. This apartment becomes an oasis where she can let loose, smoke pot, and have an affair with another teacher at the school - Maciek (Adam Woronowicz).

Things begin to unravel when she begins getting strange messages, and she soon realizes that someone has been observing her affair and drug-taking. It doesn't help that she is a hypochondriac, to begin with. Grzegorzek does a great job of building Jo's sense of paranoia throughout the film and bringing a mystery to the table that makes this film stand out from a crowded field of midlife crisis dramedies. The performances are particularly strong in this film, with Agata Buzek embodying the sense of uncertainty needed. Jacek Braciak as her husband is equally strong, capturing the distance of their relationship.

Solid support comes from Jo's children, as well as Maciek's daughter "Monkey" - a troubled student in Jo's English class. The film does not offer much new thematically (the feminist criticism of stifling family life has been portrayed in many other films, including Polish films), although it does seem to be saying something about the absence of secrecy in our modern lives. Provided you are not expecting anything revolutionary, My Wonderful Life is a solid dramedy portraying the reality of life for many Polish people.



Popular Posts