Another Year

Another Year, a film by the British director, Mike Leigh, portrays events in a one-year period in the lives of several people. The central characters are an elderly married couple, Tom (Jim Broadbent) and Gerri (Ruth Sheen). Their house serves as the setting for most of the film. Here we see the various people who drift in and out of their lives: Mary (Lesley Manville), a lonely divorcée; Ken (Peter Wight), who eats, drinks and smokes too much; Ronnie (David Bradley), Tom’s brother, who is mourning the recent death of his wife; and Joe (Oliver Maltman), their son. Tom and Gerri seem content and well-adjusted, yet they are unable to be of much help to the unhappy people around them.

I’m told that Leigh’s approach to making a film is to first have his actors improvise scenes, and then he constructs a script based on these scenes. This approach is clearly very effective in Another Year. Everything in this film seems real and convincing. There is none of the contrived melodrama of The Kids Are All Right (which has received four Academy Award nominations, believe it or not). I found myself caring about the characters and what happens to them. This film is subtly tragic, yet there are also funny moments.

The screening I went to was sold out. The audience was mostly older people. I think this shows that there is an audience for films that aren’t just about young people.

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One Response to “Another Year”

  1. Cinema Paradiso Says:

    We are celebrating our 10th Anniversary and to mark our it we will today celebrate the talent and achievements of Mike Leigh. Check it out.

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