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There's little wonder in the working-class lives of Bill, Eileen, and their three grown daughters. They're lonely Londoners. Nadia, a cafe waitress, places personal ads, looking for love; Debbie, a single mom, entertains men at the hair salon after hours; her son spends part of the weekend with her ex, a man with a hair-trigger temper. Molly is expecting her first baby and its father acts as if the responsibility is too much for him. Eileen is bitter, complaining about her husband and the dog next door; Bill's a doormat. His West Indian neighbor offers him a drink; her own grown son locks himself in his room most of the time. Will anyone connect during this Guy Fawkes weekend? Written by
This may be the best film of 2000 (at least that's when it was released in Australia).
Whilst film-makers like P.T. Anderson have made admirable attempts at personal drama in the last few years, and Mike Leigh continues to tell us that no-one suffers like the poor (as if we didn't know that), Michael Winterbottom has re-defined the genres. This is English kitchen sink drama without the tired clichés of class wars, which have seemed a bit anachronistic since the fall of the Tories.
Shot in a stunning cinemascope (1:2.35) and available light, with the tiniest of crews, this is London as you've only seen it if you've seen it for yourself.
The cast shines. I defy anyone to make it through this film without falling in love with Gina McKee. That's not to say that Shirley Henderson and Molly Parker are anything less than charming. Ian Hart and Stuart Townsend are wonderful. Keep an eye out for the beautifully natural performance of David Fahm as Franklyn. Jack Shepherd, Kika Markham and John Simm round out the main cast with equally powerful performances.
A great script from first time screen-writer Lawrence Coriat. Michael Nyman turns out his most subtle and restrained music score yet. Michael Winterbottom is turning out to be the Stanley Kubrick of the 21st century. Who else has been able to jump from one genre to another with such ease and grace?
This is a compelling film, well worth having your own copy of.
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