REVIEW: 'Another Year'

REVIEW: 'Another Year'

REVIEW: 'Another Year', Flicks.co.nz
Peter Wight and Lesley Manville

5 stars

British comedy-drama from veteran director Mike Leigh (Vera Drake, Secrets & Lies) with Jim Broadbent. See here for movie times and watch the trailer.

Veteran British director Mike Leigh delivers a superb drama exploring family ties and those without them. Cutting right to the heart of getting older and being alone, Leigh crafts a rich and expertly nuanced film, treading a fine line between wry comedy and tragic pathos.

Charting the course of ‘another’ year, Leigh uses the seasonal pattern to explore themes from new beginnings to death. Present throughout it all are lead characters Tom and Gerri (yes, they get that all the time), played with warmth and lived-in naturalism by Leigh regulars Jim Broadbent and Ruth Sheen. For two of their respective friends, however, life is not so palatable, each facing the inexorable decline into a lonely existence of retirement and solitary life.

One of these is Mary (for whom actress Lesley Manville received an Oscar nomination), a jittery, rather desperate singleton who looks into her future and sees nothing to look forward to. She gives most heightened performance of the film, peddling Leigh’s signature style while providing the sombre centre of the film.

Another Year can be a bleak experience at times, yet as with all Mike Leigh films there is much comfort to be taken in the relatable and human dramatic material. Plenty to think about, plenty to savour, it’s a masterful exploration of aging, family bonds, strength and loneliness. As with all his films, Leigh has reflected both the joy and the struggle of living a real life.

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