mon 17/06/2024

DVD: Another Year | reviews, news & interviews

DVD: Another Year

DVD: Another Year

Mike Leigh subtly counterpoints marital bliss and desperate loneliness

Couple therapy: Ruth Sheen and Jim Broadbent in Mike Leigh's Another Year

Another of Mike Leigh’s finely nuanced ensemble pieces features some of his repertory players - including Jim Broadbent, Lesley Manville and Ruth Sheen - who have developed their roles and dialogue in collaboration with the director.

Those who, like me, find Leigh’s representations of working-class people in his films rather annoying will have no such qualms here as he is on home territory with a story about middle-class lives, for which he has deservedly been nominated at the upcoming Oscars for best original screenplay.

Another Year is about a group of family and friends and spans four seasons in their interconnected lives - the cycle of birth, death, love old and new - and has a haunting, elegaic quality amid its comedy and tragedy, which, as with life itself, sit side by side. The film centres on counsellor Gerri and geologist Tom, a contented (some would say smug) middle-aged couple devoted to their allotment, whose home is a haven for life’s waifs and strays - Manville’s disappointed-in-love Mary, who is an old friend and colleague of Gerri, or Tom’s lifelong friend Ken, overweight, drinking too much and unhappily living alone. Gerri and Tom’s only child, Joe, who has inherited Tom’s sardonic humour, flits in and out.

As with all Leigh’s films, the focus is on the performances and the main actors don’t disappoint; Broadbent and Sheen are wonderful as the warm-hearted Tom and Gerri, but Manville steals the show with a heart-wrenching portrayal of a women on the edge, someone whose breezy exterior is a thin gauze over the absence of happiness within. David Bradley, meanwhile, as Tom’s monosyllabic brother Ronnie, shows how much can be conveyed with just a look.

The only extras are the film’s trailer and some choppily edited interviews with Leigh and his film’s leads, which offer some insights about the characters’ back stories and why actors love working in Leigh’s distinctive, auteur style.

Watch the trailer for Another Year


Editor Rating: 
Average: 5 (1 vote)

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