Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB.
United Kingdom/France, 2002. Les Films Alain Sarde, Thin Man Films. Screenplay by Mike Leigh. Cinematography by Dick Pope. Produced by Simon Channing Williams, Alain Sarde. Music by Andrew Dickson. Production Design by Eve Stewart. Costume Design by Jacqueline Durran. Film Editing by Lesley Walker. Cannes Film Festival 2002. Toronto International Film Festival 2002.
Mike Leigh returns with yet another incisive and touching look at life among London’s working classes. Bored, middle-aged couple Timothy Spall and Lesley Manville do their best to keep it together while their children live in emotional misery. Their son is a foul-mouthed git who sits on his lazy duff and watches TV all day, while their daughter works in a nursing home and retreats into her own personal silence to escape her unhappiness. Meanwhile, their neighbours have problems of their own, with one couple marred by the wife’s alcoholism and their daughter’s promiscuity, while neighbour Ruth Sheen (in a delightful standout performance) has to deal with her daughter’s abusive relationship to an undeserving boy while her own optimism seems to be out of place in her surroundings. How these characters interact, find each other and make their lives that much better is a frustrating, moving and eventually very satisfying experience that is worth every minute you spend in front of the screen.