Awful smug film that should have been a TV drama
- Another Year review by PV
I HATED this film. Mike Leigh gets far too many plaudits from the cinephile crowd - his films are often dull leftwing rants. Also, he tends to hate working class people who try to better themselves (most of his films show this) but lately he has been trying to redress the balance: that is why here Jim Broadbent and his wife Gerri - the most irritatingly smug woman in the world - are shown as working class persons 'made good' - all caring sharing and wonderful. Only a middle class son of a wealthy doctor like Leigh could come up with such nonsense! The more I think about this film the more I hate it! It is outrageous that Leigh gets taxpayers' money to make this crap when far better filmmakers and writers can't get funding. This should have been a BBC2 drama - at best. I'd rather pay not to watch this drivel again.
4 out of 13 members found this review helpful.
You'll either love it or hate it – me, I liked it very much
- Another Year review by RP
I was browsing for Mike Leigh films, and I came across some unflattering reviews of 'Another Year', so I though I'd add my viewpoint. I hesitated for a long time before writing a review of this film and in the meantime I've seen one of Mike Leigh's early works, the TV play 'Abigail's Party'. In a way I feel that these are the mirror image of each other: in 'Abigail's Party' the central characters are deeply unpleasant and are trying to impress others, while in 'Another Year' the central characters are well settled and comfortable with themselves, and have no need to try to impress anyone.
This is a typically British, typically 'Mike Leigh' kind of film, and like others from the same director you'll probably either love it or hate it. It's about life and relationships. It covers all aspects: there is a birth and a death. There is a happy relationship (the central couple, Tom and Gerri – yes, I'm sure there was a pun intended there). There are failed relationships, old relationships, and new relationships developing. There is the contrast between two sons – one estranged and angry, one appreciated and caring (and perhaps a little boring). Is all human life here? I guess that's for each one who sees the film to decide, but it's a mighty tangled tale that the director tries to tell...
The film is told in four distinct sections (contrived as seasons of the year): the stable, happy, comfortable relationship of professional couple Tom and Gerri seems to act as a magnet for others with problems: Gerri's work colleague and tipsy/dipsy friend/acquaintance Mary (wonderfully played by Lesley Manville) who has a history of failed relationships, Tom's longtime friend Ken who is deeply unhappy and has a drink problem, Tom's brother Ronnie who is newly bereaved, and Tom and Gerri's son Joe. Mary has a crush on Joe who is some 20 years younger: she takes it badly when Joe's new girlfriend is revealed, becomes estranged from Gerri, and her drinking increases to the point where she needs professional help. The film ends with a long, slow look at Mary as she reflects on her life.
And so it goes: it's a complex tale about life and relationships. I found it quite a mix of emotional uplift, humour and emotional depression. Above all it is very well acted, well photographed, well directed. But it's not an easy film to watch. As I said above, you'll either love it or hate it – me, I liked it very much. 4/5 stars – highly recommended.
1 out of 1 members found this review helpful.