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A look at four seasons in the lives of a happily married couple and their relationships with their family and friends.
Release Year: 2010
Rating: 7.4/10 (11,336 voted)
Critic's Score: 80/100
Stars: Jim Broadbent, Ruth Sheen, Lesley Manville
Storyline A married couple who have managed to remain blissfully happy into their autumn years, are surrounded over the course of the four seasons of one average year by friends, colleagues, and family who all seem to suffer some degree of unhappiness.
Cast: Jim Broadbent
(as Phil Davis)
Mary Jo Randle
Filming Locations: Battersea Power Station, Battersea, London, England, UK
Box Office Details
Opening Weekend: £355,626
(7 November 2010)
(22 May 2011)
Did You Know?
The film is dedicated to Mike Leigh's late friend and long-term producing partner Simon Channing Williams.
One of Mary's outlays on her troublesome car was for a new carburettor, but the vehicle in the film had fuel injection.
So how long's this been going on for? Janet:
I don't know. Tanya:
A few weeks? Janet:
A long time. Tanya:
A year? Janet:
I Suppose so. Tanya:
A whole year? You've taken your time to come and see me, haven't you?
Mike Leigh turns the trivial into the truly tragic
Mike Leigh's latest film Another Year follows the story of a happily
married couple approaching their retirement years. Their warm
relationship offers them security as the the film progresses. Their
friends and family, by contrast, all struggle to some extent with
unhappiness, and a sense that their best years may be behind them.
The film is a story of ageing; the small events that can make life
either comforting or unbearable; and the refuge that companionship can
Rut Sheen's role as Gerri is superb. Her open, welcoming face invites
her friend and colleague Mary (played by Lesley Manville) to open up to
her about her drunken fears of where her life is leading. Jim
Broadbent's Tom is charming and self-effacing, confident in his own
happiness yet nonplussed at the failure of his friend Ken Peter Wight
to come to terms with growing old.
The film dwells on the small, predominantly non-verbal signals that
reveal emotional and social insecurity. Leigh's direction reminds us
that the sharpest insights into character lie in moments where we think
we at our most concealed. Faces betray what we wish were kept private
at moments where verbal communication fails, physical expression lights
up hidden fears, passions, failings and desires.
Leigh treats all his characters with a certain dignity whilst there
are moments where we are encouraged to laugh at their social
inadequacies, for the most part we suffer along with them, knowing that
their experiences are all too near reality to take lightly. We
encourage Tom and Gerri to keep supporting their despairing friends,
yet knowing at the same time that their married happiness can only
serve to mock their friends' lonely lives further. The four strictly
partitioned seasons of the film point towards a growing anxiety that it
may in fact be too late for these lost characters. The cyclical nature
of the structure suggests that there is no real remedy for those left
unloved and lonely at the film's conclusion.
From the opening scene, where a woman silently struggles to recollect
the happiest moment in her life, to the point when the dialogue slowly
fades away to leave Mary isolated and forlorn, we cannot help but be
both enchanted and dismayed by the emotional honesty of Mike Leigh's
characters. This is what sets out the director as a truly gifted artist
his ability to heighten the routine into the dramatic; and to make
the trivial, truly tragic.