The film’s plot moves briskly enough from one forced cliché to the next that’s punctuated by some well-staged action sequences (including one atop a speeding bullet train). The pace is also advantageous in speeding past some of the fairly large plot-holes, especially considering the talent that collaborated on the screenplay
From the country that may have created the social-realism genre with Sergei Eisenstein’s silent masterpiece Strike, A Long And Happy Life could be seen as something of a modern day re-assessment of working men’s status, that’s well made and tells the plight of its protagonist with a gripping sense of realism.
The idea of the prodigal son returning home after an extended absence has been done a lot in movies. Because it’s so thematically rich though, unlike other plot cliché’s, it’s also been done well, memorably in movies like The Indian Runner, You Can Count on Me, No Looking Back and in Australia’s own (extremely worthy, early Russell Crowe vehicle) The Crossing.