Love, Life and Death in a Day Review

February 25, 2009 by  
Filed under Reviews


lovelifedeath300210Love, Life and Death in a Day, Channel 4, Thursday 26th February 9:00pm Alert Me

Love, Life and Death in a Day is another one of Channel 4’s attempts at accessible, easy documentary. Cutting Edge has slipped into the habit of being anything but cutting edge, making unremarkable films on unremarkable subjects, and the programme is more clinging to the edge than cutting it. Whilst this is, on the face of it, a sort of neat idea, it turns out to be dreadfully dull.

There are undeniable moving moments – you’d need a heart of stone not to be affected by the young man weeping over his younger brother’s death – but on the whole these human dramas mean so much because they are intensely personal. When served up for mass consumption they’re not only trivialised, but also stripped of much of the humanity that they would usually hold.

It’s a shame that this programme was carried out with so little panache. From the film makers point of view, I suppose it may have seemed disrespectful if they’d been any more flashy, but from the audience’s point of view, Love, Life and Death in a Day is like a series of disjointed home videos of the important moments in someone else’s life. It’s like interminably being at a friend’s wedding where you don’t know anyone.

The only redeeming features, really, are when the people are allowed to speak for themselves. Never will watching one person declare their love for another be boring – it’d take a truly awful film maker to mess that up. But even those moments are perpetually interrupted by the grating voiceover, which attempts to lend gravitas and is instead faintly ludicrous.

In all, Love, Life and Death in a Day is occasionally sweet but mostly just deadly boring. I was struggling to pay attention as apparently interchangeable people were marrying, dying, crying and laughing. The only moment that piqued my interest – a conversation with a sixteen year old father with aspirations of a job at ASDA – was short lived and never followed up. Again with C4, the viewer is left wondering what the point is if any interesting lead is avoided in favour of easy-viewing, the visual equivalent to Jamie Cullum.

By Chris Harding