Writer/Director: Mike Leigh
Running time: 129 mins (approx)
Certification (UK): 12
UK Release date: 5th November 2010
Watched on Terrestrial PVR Saturday 10th August 2013.
PLEASE NOTE: THERE MAY BE UNINTENTIONAL SPOILERS IN THIS REVIEW.
You always know what you’re going to get with a Mike Leigh film: they’re always very human stories; well produced and with excellent performances. This is no exception and I’m very happy about that. I know it was critically acclaimed on release and was even nominated for an Oscar and a BAFTA (didn’t win either though). I have to admit I really enjoyed this drama (with comic elements); I hate it when the call it a comedy/drama when it’s clearly the other way around!! – [Okay, rant over]. Here’s a very brief summary before I give you my thoughts.
The film concentrates on a year in the lives of middle-aged couple Tom (Jim Broadbent) and Gerri (Ruth Sheen). He is a commercial geologist and she is a therapist at a medical practice. They have a 30 year old son, Joe (Oliver Maltman), who visits occasionally. We are taken through their daily lives and that of the various friends and family that come to their house. One friend in particular takes centre stage, Mary (Lesley Manville). She works with Gerri and come across as quite bubbly and happy-go-lucky but underneath she’s desperately lonely. This results in some quite comic moments but also some very touching and quite sad ones. I won’t go into specifics here, but she does put on quite a show.
Really well made with some tremendous performances; I loved the down-to-earth tone of the piece. Mike Leigh does make some great dramas and he really gets great performances from his actors. In this one I loved both Jim Broadbent and Ruth Sheen, but the star of the show was definitely Lesley Manville. She had to go through the whole gamut of emotions and did it quite brilliantly (IMO). It’s not a film that will be to everyone’s taste; the explosion count is zero; car chases get a similar score and as for deaths, well, there is one, but we only find out about that one when they have to go to the funeral. But I digress; I found it a really engaging film with some real characters that are both believable and well rounded. It’s nice to see British people portrayed as they are for a change, instead of some stereotypical ‘vision’ of what everyone thinks they are. On the down side, I did find it went on just a tad too long at the end, but I’m not going to hold that against it. It’s well worth a look if you get the chance.
SteelMonster’s verdict: RECOMMENDED
My score: 8.2/10.
IMDb Score: 7.3/10 (based on 17,356 votes when this review was written).
MetaScore: 80/100: (Based on 35 critic reviews provided by Metacritic.com at the time of going to press).
Rotten Tomatoes ‘Audience’ Score: 72/100 (based on 19,867 user ratings counted at the time of going to press).
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