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All Or Nothing (2002)

Directed by:

Mike Leigh

Rating: 7/10

Running Time: 128 minutes

UK Certificate: 18

'All Or Nothing' is set on a working-class rundown housing estate in London. The film predominantly focusses on taxi driver Phil Bassett (Timothy Spall), his supermarket checkout wife Penny (Lesley Manville), and their two overweight children Rachel & Rory. They all have trouble communicating with each other, and their lives have no meaning as they struggle with a variety of problems, not helped by the chaos of those around them having their own crises to deal with!

'All Or Nothing' is entirely character focussed and character driven, and those characters are brilliantly observed. Just when you think and pray that life doesn't get any worse for them, it does! Phil and Penny's lives are in turmoil, and their marriage on the rocks. Their son is lazy and does nothing to help; and it is when he has a heart attack that they are forced to re-evaluate their situation, and find the understanding for each other that they need to move on and make their lives better.

This film tells the stories also of Phil and Penny's neighbours, who are involved in their lives, and also go through an emotional voyage of discovery. The performances from the entire cast are excellent and heart-rending, but Ruth Sheen's performance shines above the rest. As Maureen, she provides moments of humour for the film, and shows her talent in this role!

There are plenty of moments where you really feel for the characters and get embarrased for them. When Phil goes through the house looking for small change, and ends up having to borrow from his daughter, one really has sympathy for him.

'All Or Nothing' shows what is a harsh reality for some people and serves as a wake-up call for us that life can be like this; and that only we can make our lives better! Everybody in this film has an awful existence, but they learn by the end how to get enjoyment from it by being with those we love. It is a film about friends and family sticking together through adversity; and coming out the other end closer and more appreciative of each other than ever before. You have to see this film.

It's Got: A comforting ending for the characters at the end of all their depression!

It Needs: To contain a few more smiles!

Alternatives:

Heartlands

Summary

It teaches you to see the value of the people around you!

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