Director: MIKE LEIGH

U.K.| 1980. COLOUR. 93 MIN.

Leigh’s orchestration of character and narrative is seen to brilliant effect in this tale of Dick and Mandy, a young couple living in Canterbury. They live next door to a middle-aged, middle-class couple, one of whom used to teach them at school, and receive frequent uninvited visits from Mandy’s lonely, unmarried older sister Gloria, superlatively played by Brenda Blethyn in a performance that foreshadows her award-winning Cynthia in Secrets and Lies. It’s Gloria who propels the film towards its comic high-point, a howlingly funny set piece that genuinely leaves you uncertain whether to laugh or cry.

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