Monday, November 08, 2010

Same old, same old

I went to see the new Mike Leigh film Another Year, yesterday.

I'm a big Mike Leigh fan, but to be honest this was not only deeply depressing but frankly it was just more of the same. And it was really long - or at least it seemed like it. It's been showered with praise as usual, and it's good, with good performances but really, I wonder if critics just adore Mike Leigh films by default and no one dare say they didn't like one because it might undermine their professional standing.

Anyhoo, it was one of those stories about nothing much, with Lesley Manville in full verge-of-breakdown mode. She's being tipped for Oscars but I thought she was a bit over the top, full of too many tics and actually rather annoying as the desperate, single friend, who drinks too much, hates her flat and her job and is ultimately rather lonely. It's not hard to see why that is. Less is more. There's always one character who's pitched just that bit too high in a Mike Leigh film, and in Another Year she was it.

The stand out for me was Peter Wight, who played Jim Broadbent's old friend from Derby, who was deeply damaged and rather disturbed and also drank too much. He was made for Mary but she wasn't having any of it, she's rather lust after men who wouldn't give her the time of day. Ruth Sheen was really good too, rather gentle, and a happy soul who bore the brunt of everyone else's misery.

The more I think about there is actually a lot of substance to it, and a Mike Leigh film is well-crafted and always worth seeing. But I'd like to see one that didn't include this usual themes. Then again, it wouldn't be a Mike Leigh film. 


Cocktails said...

I don't think that Happy Go Lucky includes these sort of themes did it? And as a consequence, it was the worst Mike Leigh film in years!

What happened to the lesbian quiz?

Five-Centres said...

It's not happening, Cocktails.

I agree about Happy Go Lucky, though rather than finding the Sally Hawkins character hilarious, I thought was hid a secret despair. And she was way too shrill.