7.4/10
10,467
203 user 100 critic

Topsy-Turvy (1999)

Set in the 1880s, the story of how, during a creative dry spell, the partnership of the legendary musical/theatrical writers Gilbert and Sullivan almost dissolves, before they turn it all around and write the Mikado.

Director:

Writer:

On Disc

at Amazon

Won 2 Oscars. Another 11 wins & 27 nominations. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Career Girls (1997)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

2 young women reunite and rekindle their friendship after having said goodbye at their college graduation, six years earlier.

Director: Mike Leigh
Stars: Katrin Cartlidge, Lynda Steadman, Kate Byers
High Hopes (1988)
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

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 »

Director: Mike Leigh
Stars: Phil Davis, Ruth Sheen, Edna Doré
Vera Drake (2004)
Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

Abortionist Vera Drake finds her beliefs and practices clash with the mores of 1950s Britain--a conflict that leads to tragedy for her family.

Director: Mike Leigh
Stars: Imelda Staunton, Jim Broadbent, Heather Craney
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

In a poor working class London home Penny's love for her partner, taxi-driver Phil, has run dry, but when an unexpected tragedy occurs, they and their local community are brought together, and they rediscover their love.

Director: Mike Leigh
Stars: Timothy Spall, Lesley Manville, Ruth Sheen
Life Is Sweet (1990)
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

A waitress, her cook husband, & their twin daughters ponder their lives over a few weeks in a working-class suburb north of London.

Director: Mike Leigh
Stars: Alison Steadman, Jim Broadbent, Claire Skinner
Another Year (2010)
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

A look at four seasons in the lives of a happily married couple and their relationships with their family and friends.

Director: Mike Leigh
Stars: Jim Broadbent, Ruth Sheen, Lesley Manville
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

A successful black woman discovers that her birth mother is a underprivileged white woman, but the woman denies it. As emotions run high, everyone's secrets are exposed.

Director: Mike Leigh
Stars: Timothy Spall, Brenda Blethyn, Phyllis Logan
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

A look at a few chapters in the life of Poppy, a cheery, colorful, North London schoolteacher whose optimism tends to exasperate those around her.

Director: Mike Leigh
Stars: Sally Hawkins, Alexis Zegerman, Samuel Roukin
Bleak Moments (1971)
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

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

Director: Mike Leigh
Stars: Anne Raitt, Sarah Stephenson, Eric Allan
A Sense of History (TV Short 1992)
Short | Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  

The 23rd Earl of Leete shares brief moments of his life, the truth behind his family estate and his particular glorious moment when he murdered his wife and his brother.

Director: Mike Leigh
Stars: Jim Broadbent, Stephen Bill, Belinda Bradley
Mr. Turner (2014)
Biography | Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

An exploration of the last quarter century of the great, if eccentric, British painter J.M.W. Turner's life.

Director: Mike Leigh
Stars: Timothy Spall, Paul Jesson, Dorothy Atkinson
Naked (1993)
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

Parallel tales of two sexually obsessed men, one hurting and annoying women physically and mentally, one wandering around the city talking to strangers and experiencing dimensions of life.

Director: Mike Leigh
Stars: David Thewlis, Lesley Sharp, Katrin Cartlidge
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
Louis
Sukie Smith ...
Clothilde
Roger Heathcott ...
Stage Doorkeeper
Wendy Nottingham ...
Stefan Bednarczyk ...
Frank Cellier
Geoffrey Hutchings ...
...
...
Butt
...
Cook
Adam Searle ...
Shrimp
Martin Savage ...
...
...
Kate Doherty ...
Edit

Storyline

After their production "Princess Ida" meets with less-than-stunning reviews, the relationship between Gilbert and Sullivan is strained to breaking. Their friends and associates attempt to get the two to work together again, which opens the way to "The Mikado," one of the duo's greatest successes. Written by Steve Fenwick <scf@w0x0f.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Gilbert & Sullivan & So Much More See more »


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for a scene of risque nudity | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
Edit

Details

Country:

|

Language:

| | | |

Release Date:

11 February 2000 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Mike Leigh Untitled  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Budget:

£10,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$32,718 (USA) (19 December 1999)

Gross:

$6,201,757 (USA) (21 May 2000)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

The tower structure on the backdrop of the Mikado set is a painting of the Pagoda at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, a few miles away from Richmond Theatre where the scenes were filmed. See more »

Goofs

Gilbert sarcastically suggests that Sullivan, wanting to write a more serious opera, might try to collaborate with "Mr. Ibsen in Oslo." At the period in which the movie is set, the city was named Christiania. See more »

Quotes

Richard D'Oyly Carte: Well, I don't know about you, but speaking for myself, I could murder a pork chop.
See more »


Soundtracks

The Criminal Cried As He Dropped Him Down
(1885)
from "The Mikado"
Music by Arthur Sullivan
Lyrics by W.S. Gilbert
Performed by Dorothy Atkinson, Kevin McKidd and Vincent Franklin
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
I've no more shots in my locker
22 October 2002 | by (Virgina) – See all my reviews

Simply put, a brilliant film.

Topsy Turvy captures Gilbert and Sullivan in the midst of a turbulent period in their partnership. Desperate to be taken more seriously as a composer, Arthur Sullivan attempts to renege on the Gilbert and Sullivan contract with the Savoy Theatre. While his partner William S Gilbert struggles to come up with something new to write about. Each man, in a sense, is longing for individual acclaim but they are trapped in an entity neither one can shake. The fame of their collective energies has taken on a life of its own and the theater crowds want more.

The film is mostly the story of a theater production of the Mikado, one of Gilbert and Sullivan's most famous operas. Director Mike Leigh, notorious for writing on the go, has structured a play within a play to a great delight. Jim Broadbent and Allan Corduner are brilliant as Gilbert and Sullivan, and Tim Spall has a wonderful turn as one of the actors, Mr. Temple.

Their is more here than just two playwrights. The entire cast is seen as more than just pieces of a production. From choristers to administrative personnel, Topsy Turvy is alive with characters. One of the best is Gilbert's long-suffering wife Kitty. Bereft of children and saddled with a husband who doesn't show outward affection, Kitty (Lucy) could be a two dimensional afterthought. However, her pain at being childless is wonderfully played by Lesley Manville. It is clear they love each other but neither is capable of articulating that love, very odd for a man who writes for a living.

Filled with humor and grace, Topsy Turvy is one of the best films about acting and a beautiful embrace of all things theatrical.


47 of 51 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?