Running Time: 129 minutes
US Certificate: PG-13 UK Certificate: 12A
Country: United Kingdom
Ah Mike Leigh, the British film industry’s answer to ritalin. Another Year is his latest technically excellent film exploring relationships, the British psyche and social mobility.
Another Year follows Tom (Broadbent) and Gerri (Sheen), a couple who have managed to stay blissfully happy well into middle age. Over one year they are visited by a menagerie of friends, colleagues and relatives who are suffering some form of sadness that seems to stem from the life chances they were given as children. Throughout the seasons, these unlucky people that visit the smug couple, include Mary (Manville), a lonely and borderline alcoholic fifty-something, and Ken (Wright), who has let himself go and become a bit of a mess both physically and emotionally.
Needless to say, Another Year is not a happy film. Rumour has it that Kurt Cobain, Heath Ledger and even Hitler and company in the bunker, managed to secure advanced copies of the movie to tip themselves over the edge before ending it all in their unique little ways. There’s no heartwarming ending or underlying light comedy (although the characters do have a lot to laugh about between themselves) but this is kind of what you would expect from Mike Leigh. The movie is tender, very well-thought out and emotionally very mature as it deals with deep subjects in a particularly stuffy and non-committal British way.
Given patience, Another Year is a real treat and technically one of the best British films of the last few years. After a good showing at Cannes earlier in the year, it’s very likely to have a few awards rightly lavished upon it.
It's Got: Well realised characters, choice dialogue, nice attention to detail
It Needs: To be watched in the right mood and setting.
Alternatives:Finding Eric, Happy Go Lucky, Vera Drake
Another worthy but depressing slice of life from Mike Leigh. Do not watch if you’re a depressed singleton (check). Do watch if you want to see quality acting and emotional subjects tackled very well (also check, so not all bad).