10 out of 10
Released: 5th November 2010
Director: Mike Leigh: (Mr Turner / Happy Go Lucky / Vera Drake / All Or Nothing / Topsy Turvy / Career Girls / Secrets & Lies / Naked / Life Is Sweet / High Hopes / Mean Time / Nuts In May / Abigail’s Party)
Devised: Mike Leigh
Trailer: ANOTHER YEAR
Mike Leigh’s films always revolve around a larger than life character. Sometimes the chosen actors reading of the part is too broad sending the viewers scuttling for cover (see Sally Hawkins in HAPPY GO LUCKY) but most of the times we’re graced with some of the best and most memorable parts in British cinema history. And now we come to his latest which is my favourite so far. I’ve been waiting for Mike Leigh perfection and I thought we very nearly had it with Naked, Life Is Sweet and All Or Nothing but then along came Another Year. The best yet!
The story revolves around four social gatherings at a happily married couple’s – Tom and Gerri – house, played by Jim Broadbent (LIFE IS SWEET) and Ruth Sheen (HIGH HOPES). At each of these gatherings, work colleague Mary (LESLEY MANVILLE – SECRETS AND LIES) dominates proceedings. She is a borderline alcoholic spinster with an unhealthy crush on Tom and Gerri’s son, Joe (OLIVER MALTMAN – HAPPY GO LUCKY). We could also read her as suffering from an acute jealous of Tom and Gerri’s relationship. Family barbecues, Sunday dinners and a funeral are the settings for these emotional car crashes. Various old friends and family share some amazing scenes of naturalistic performing. Never once was I not convinced that these could be real people. Many of the actors like Phil Davis (JUST FOR THE RECORD) and Peter Wight (BEST LAID PLANS – 2012) have worked with Mike Leigh many times before. This comes over in this film in particular as there is a comfortable air to proceedings. No one, unusually for a Mike Leigh film, is caught grandstanding. Mary’s meltdown has been seen too many times for them to do much more than share a private raised eyebrow between themselves. In the latter scenes where Mary is alone with Tom’s brother, Ronnie (DAVID BRADLEY – HARRY POTTER – PARTS 1 – 8) is where we get to understand her a little bit more and she colours her self-centred maniac with some sympathy. The brilliant ending will leave room for a interesting discussion too.
So here we have it, probably the closest Mike Leigh’s come to movie perfection for me, and there are no car crashes, no fist fights, no explosions. My perfect movie can have all these things, but of it’s type – and this is a people movie – this is a diamond. Even the smallest roles are given care and everyone delivers pitch perfect performances. Lesley Manville deserves just about every award going and it’s hard to believe she will ever be better.
10 out of 10 – My first Britpic to get full marks. The first Mike Leigh film to get full marks despite being a great fan of his but after the annoying Happy Go Lucky this is more than a peak performance. Best ever all round. Its a few years old now, but if you haven’t seen it give it a look. You won’t be sorry. What an ending!
WHAT HAVE I SEEN THAT PERSON IN BEFORE?
- Jim Broadbent: The Sense of an Ending, War & Peace (TV), The Lady In The Van, Brooklyn, Big Game, Get Santa, Paddington, Postman Pat (voice), The Harry Hill Movie, Closed Circuit, Le Week-End, Filth, Cloud Atlas, The Iron Lady, Arthur Christmas (voice), Harry Potter- part 8, Harry Potter- part 6, The Damned United, Young Victoria, Inkheart, Indiana Jones 4, Hot Fuzz, Chronicles Of Narnia- The Lion The Witch and The Wardrobe, Bridget Jones 2, Vera Drake, Vanity Fair, Bright Young Things, Nicholas Nickleby (2002), Gangs Of New York, Iris, Moulin Rouge, Bridget Jones, Little Voice, Topsy Turvy, The Avengers, The Borrowers, Smilla’s Feeling For Snow, The Secret Agent, Rough Magic, Richard III (1995), Princess Caraboo, Bullets Over Broadway, Widow’s Peak, The Crying Game, Enchanted April, Life Is Sweet, Erik The Viking, Vroom, Brazil
- Ruth Sheen: SuperBob, A Royal Night Out, Mr Turner, Welcome To The Punch, Heartless, Run Fatboy Run, All Or Nothing, Vera Drake, The Young Poisoner’s Handbook, High Hopes,
- Lesley Manville: Molly Moon, Mr Turner, Maleficent, The Christmas Candle, Romeo & Juliet (2013), Ashes, Clone, All Or Nothing, Vera Drake, Topsy Turvy, Secrets & Lies, High Hopes, Sammy & Rosie Get Laid
- Oliver Maltman: The Sense of an Ending, Mr Turner, Happy Go Lucky
- David Bradley: The World’s End, Broadchurch (TV), Prisoner’s Wives (TV), The Holding, Harry Brown, Harry Potter 1 – 8, Hot Fuzz, The King Is Alive, Exorcist- The Beginning, Nicholas Nickleby (2002), This Is Not a Love Song
- Peter Wight: Kon-Tiki, Mr Turner, The Look Of Love, Clone, Hardboiled Sweets, Best Laid Plans (2012), Ghosted, Another Year, Cass, Hot Fuzz, Babel, Pride & Prejudice (2005), Vera Drake, Shiner, Naked, Meantime
- Karina Fernandez: Mr Turner, Pride (2014), Happy Go Lucky
- Martin Savage: Dad’s Army, Mr Turner, Topsy Turvy
- Michele Austin: The Casual Vacancy, The Infidel, Secrets & Lies
- Phil Davis: Paradise UK, Golden Years, Dough, Mr Holmes, Age of Kill, In The Blood (2015), Silk (TV), Whitechapel (TV), Being Human (TV), Borrowed Time, Outside Bet, Fast Girls, Brighton Rock (2011), Another Year, Dead Man Running, The Big I Am, Just For The Record, Cassandra’s Dream, Notes On a Scandal, The Baby Juice Express, Vera Drake, Nicholas Nickleby (2002), Photographing Fairies, Crimetime, I.D. (director), Blue Ice, Alien 3, High Hopes, The Bounty, Quadrophenia
- Imelda Staunton: Paddington (voice), Pride (2014), Maleficent, The Pirates In An Adventure With Scientists (voice), Arthur Christmas (voice), The Awakening, Psychoville (TV), Harry Potter- part 7, Alice In Wonderland (voice), Three and Out, Taking Woodstock, A Bunch Of Amateurs, Harry Potter- part 4, Freedom Writers, Shadow Man, Little Britain (TV), Nanny McPhee, Vera Drake, Blackball, Bright Young Things, Crush, Another Life, Chicken Run (voice), Shakespeare In Love, Remember Me? (1997), Twelfth Night (1996), Sense and Sensibility, Much Ado About Nothing (1993), Peter’s Friends