Leigh's most moving film yet
Another year is not just another Mike Leigh film, it’s probably the most moving to date. Less humourous perhaps than his 2008 Happy go lucky, Another year spans the four seasons and the life cycle - there’s a new baby as well as a funeral scene.
It’s a tale of ordinary folk and more than a tale, it’s several tales and, above all, a microscopic observation of human beings.
“After all, we are all lonely,” Leigh said after the screening of his film selected for the official competition this year.
The contented folk - Gerri and Tom (a nod to the Cat and Mouse cartoon?) - cultivate their garden, which is actually an allotment, all year round.
Gerri is played by Ruth Sheen and Tom by Jim Broadbent. They are middle-class professionals - busy people who still find time to love each other and help those around them who are less fortunate.
One of those is Mary, played by Lesley Manville, a lonely divorcee who drinks and smokes a lot and gives herself presents. She aggressively rejects advances made by Tom and Gerri’s friend Ken, who is 60-something and who also smokes and drinks a lot. She’s lucky not to be so aggressively rejected when she tries to seduce Tom and Gerri’s son, Joe, played by Oliver Maltman.
All these actors have worked with Mike Leigh before, Lesley Manville eight times.
“The condition is that every time they are different,” says Leigh.
The young couple, Maltman and Carina Fernandez, as Katie, made their debut with him in Happy Go Lucky.
Leigh’s director of photography, Nick Pope, is also a repeat accomplice.
Says Leigh of this, “I don’t like to talk about a family … I like to work with nice people.”
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