Title: Another Year
Genre: Comedy, Drama
Director/Writer: Mike Leigh
Music: Gary Yershon
Cinematography: Dick Pop
Mike Leigh’s films have been constantly sterling all these years, I have only watched three so far NAKED (1993), VERA DRAKE (2004) and SECRETS & LIES (1996), in ANOTHER YEAR, Leigh conspires a more conventional route rotates around a cozily married old couple, Tom & Gerri, and their 4-seasoned episodes with the closest people to their life.
There are no sensational or hyped headliners in the plot as illegal abortion in VERA DRAKE or a deserted black daughter looking for her birth mother in SECRETS & LIES. The film patiently adjusts its object on a more everyday entanglement of personal liaisons, it is a strong suit for Leigh’s long-time collaborated old hands with an incredible dexterity. Jim Broadbent and Ruth Sheen are plainly fitting as the day-to-day bustling couple (mainly in their little kaleyard), meanwhile Lesley Manville has a more showy role as their friend and Sheen’s co-worker, which has created a thorny case of category ambiguity, I put her in supporting category (and my current winner in 2010) against the fact that her screen time is bountiful enough to match with Sheen, she is magnetic in playing a desperately lonely outsider of the family but enthusiastically partakes her involvement which subsequently sabotages the friendship with the family and more significantly exacerbates her own world of misery, Manville’s performance is poignantly reminiscent of the Oscar-nominated Brenda Blethyn in SECRETS & LIES, her Oscar-snub is a rueful crime.
Leigh is an incisive observer, and he knows exactly how to put the mundane inspirations of trivial happenings
into a well-finessed storyline and potently interpreted by his swell cast. Plus, the film never retreats to a compromised stance to whitewash the authenticity of its various characters, all the emotions, confrontations and evocations are tangible, in his unique way, Leigh constructs a vividly pitched comedy-drama, an intrepid internal journey to sense and assimilate.