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Bleak Moments (1971)

 |  Comedy, Drama  |  1971 (UK)
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Moments from the uncompromisingly bleak existence of a secretary, her intellectually disabled sister, aloof and uneasy teacher boyfriend, bizarre neighbor and irritating workmate.



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Anne Raitt ...
Sarah Stephenson ...
Eric Allan ...
Joolia Cappleman ...
Mike Bradwell ...
Liz Smith ...
Malcolm Smith ...
Norman's friend
Norman's friend
Christopher Martin ...
Sylvia's Boss
Linda Beckett ...
Remedial Trainee
Sandra Bolton ...
Remedial Trainee
Stephen Churchett ...
Remedial Trainee
Una Brandon-Jones ...
Ronald Eng ...
Reginald Stewart ...
Man in Restaurant


Moments from the uncompromisingly bleak existence of a secretary, her intellectually disabled sister, aloof and uneasy teacher boyfriend, bizarre neighbor and irritating workmate. Written by JCB

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Comedy | Drama


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Release Date:

1971 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

Loving Moments  »

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Did You Know?

Crazy Credits

"Any similarity between characters in this film and persons living or dead is entirely intentional." See more »


Featured in Mike Leigh in Conversation (2008) See more »


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Written by Elizabeth Cotten, Paul James and Fred Williams
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User Reviews

"Remarkable display of storytelling..."
6 December 2011 | by (Norway) – See all my reviews

British screenwriter and director Mike Leigh's feature film debut, a stage play from 1970 turned into a feature film which he wrote, tells the story about a woman named Sylvia who leads a quiet and rather uneventful life in the suburbs of South Norwood, London with her mentally ill sister named Hilda. Both of them seek the company of others, but they are stuck with each other, and even though Hilda makes an effort to change their situation by inviting men to their home, their reserved and detached personalities makes the development of personal relations difficult for them.

One of the directors who are greatest at fictionalizing real life and depicting the tensions, the uncertainty, the awkward silence and the variable ways human beings communicate within social situations, goes into the heart of minimalistic filmmaking in this acutely directed independent film. "Bleak Moments" definitely has it's bleak moments and it is a sharp existentialistic portrayal of everyday life where the monotony, the waiting for something else, the endurance of time and the mercilessness of isolation gets under the skin of people who wants nothing more than companionship.

A subtle study of character, a perceptive chamber piece, a considerate drama and a social comedy, English filmmaker Mike Leigh's character-driven and narrative-driven directorial debut is a distinctly realistic film with a distinct atmosphere created by fine actors and actresses, where life is the central character that surrounds and inhabits the multifaceted and lovable individuals. The dialog is subtle and witty and in her first feature film role, actress Anne Raitt gives a profound and understated acting performance. A remarkable display of storytelling from one of the great auteur filmmakers.

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