Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Mike Leigh’s Another Year: Redefining longing and family values

Casting a compassionate eye on the lives of aging middle-class Britons searching for love’s comfort in a bucolic town while trying to matter, Another Year (2010), from acclaimed director Mike Leigh (Vera Drake, Secrets & Lies) weaves a terribly affecting, complex and ultimately revealing family drama that boasts solid performances from an estimable lineup, led by the breathtakingly wonderful (and heartbreaking!) Lesley Manville as a lovelorn, alcoholic divorcee who finds herself in a rut with no real prospects on the horizon.

Manville is such a tour-de-force that I fail to understand why she was overlooked for a supporting-actress Oscar nod for her exceptional turn. Ruth Sheen and Jim Broadbent are rather effortlessly appealing as a loving senior couple.

Taking on a range of themes, from family values to longing to heartache, Another Year is a quiet film, but the emotional rollercoaster that Leigh subjects his well-developed characters to make this one of his most joyfully noisy releases in years.

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