A fictional documentary (scripted by David Mercer) that charts the influence of family relations on a young girl's deteriorating ability to handle her environment. It presents a highly biased attack against the techniques of drug and electro-convulsive therapy, in favour of a more personal approach that takes into account the complexities of the individual's social context. As propaganda, the film tends to distort and over-simplify the issues, with a method disturbingly similar to that which it is attacking. Family Life continues Loach's examination of class exploitation, and because its purpose and function are clearer than Poor Cow or even Kes, it's arguably a better film, even if remaining limited by its TV-derived visual puritanism. JDuC.