7.6/10
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High Hopes (1988)

Slice-of-life look at a sweet working-class couple in London, Shirley and Cyril, his mother, who's aging quickly and becoming forgetful, mum's ghastly upper-middle-class neighbors, and ... See full summary »

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5 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
Cyril (as Philip Davis)
...
Edna Doré ...
Mrs Bender
...
Martin
Heather Tobias ...
Valerie
...
...
...
Wayne
Judith Scott ...
Suzi
Cheryl Prime ...
Martin's Girlfriend
Diane-Louise Jordan ...
Chemist Shop Assistant
Linda Beckett ...
Receptionist
Ali ...
Baby
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Storyline

Slice-of-life look at a sweet working-class couple in London, Shirley and Cyril, his mother, who's aging quickly and becoming forgetful, mum's ghastly upper-middle-class neighbors, and Cyril's pretentious sister and philandering husband. Shirley wants a baby, but Cyril, who reads Marx and wants the world to be perfect, is reluctant. Cyril's mum locks herself out and must ask her snooty neighbors for help. Then Cyril's sister Valerie stages a surprise party for mum's 70th birthday, a disaster from start to finish. Shirley holds things together, and she and Cyril may put aside her Dutch cap after all. Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Comedy | Drama

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

24 February 1989 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Belle speranze  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Budget:

£1,800,000 (estimated)

Gross:

$1,192,322 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Quotes

Rupert Boothe-Braine: Now... what made this country great was a place for everyone, and everyone in his place. And this is my place.
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Connections

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

Soundtracks

Sex Drive
(uncredited)
Music by Chris Blackwell
De Wolfe Music Ltd
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User Reviews

 
More bleak moments
14 January 2007 | by (Derry, Ireland) – See all my reviews

The title of Mike Leigh's first film was "Bleak Moments" and he's been having them, on and off, ever since. Leigh's films are the comedic equivalent of the Theatre of Cruelty. The pain running through a Mike Leigh movie far outweighs anything 'funny'. You wonder why they are called comedies at all. And the pain is usually the pain of belonging to a family unit. In "High Hopes" the family unit is Edna Dore's almost catatonic London pensioner, her appalling daughter Valerie and her equally appalling husband Martin and her son Cyril and his partner Shirley. Dore's next-door neighbours are a couple of Sloane Rangers with a double-barreled name and if Leigh has a fault it's that he can't help lampooning Valerie and Martin and the snooty neighbours. (Valerie is a clone of the awful Beverly in "Abigail's Party"). These are cartoon characters and they don't ring true.

However Dore, who does virtually nothing, is quietly magnificent as the mother whose life has evaporated in front of her eyes and Philip Davis and Ruth Sheen are heartbreakingly real as the socialist son and the woman he loves but not enough to give her the child she craves. Indeed, Davis and Sheen give the kind of performances that seem to transcend mere 'acting' and which in a just world would be showered with prizes. (Sheen and Dore did win European Film Awards). In fact, everyone is first-rate even the caricatured neighbours and the lamentable Valerie. An uneven work, then, but when Davis and Sheen are on screen it's as good as Leigh gets.


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