Director: MIKE LEIGH

129 minutes| U.K.| 2010| Colour| Anamorphic| Dolby Digital Stereo| 35mm

Mike Leigh returns in ruminative mode with this suburban drama exploring everyday lives of quiet desperation. Unfolding in four sections tracing the passing seasons, it’s a study in emotional contrasts, with counsellor Ruth Sheen and geologist Jim Broadbent’s seemingly unruffled decades-long marriage set against the mounting desperation of their single friends – her flaky co-worker Lesley Manville and his boozy old pal Peter Wight. As ever, Leigh finds poignant humanity in subject matter that others might pass over as too mundane. Here he explores the possibility of change and self-knowledge as middle-aged stasis sets in. As ever, he’s helped immensely by a brilliant cast. Manville’s over-determined efforts to put on a brave face will doubtless win most of the plaudits, but Sheen’s unwittingly hurtful smugness is acting of the most insightful order. Leigh’s uncanny facility for drawing out the fault-lines of social embarrassment is as witheringly amusing as ever, but there’s deep and genuine feeling behind the laughter. (Notes by Trevor Johnston).

Book Tickets