DVD: Life During Wartime (15)

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The Independent Culture

Todd Solondz's follow up to Happiness (1998), his exquisite black comedy, is just as unsettling but half as droll and features, oddly, a completely different cast.

Once again the focus is on perversion ("Born a perv, die a perv," as Joy's mum points out) and family dysfunction. Joy (previously played by the excellent Jane Adams, now by Shirley Henderson) finds out that her damaged hubby (previously Philip Seymour Hoffman, now Michael Kenneth Williams – Omar in The Wire) has slipped back into his sex-pest ways. Joy's sister, Trish (Allison Janney), has fallen hard for portly Harvey. Trish's paedophile ex-husband, Bill, is fresh out of prison and seeking forgiveness. A very painful watch.