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A married couple who have managed to remain blissfully happy into their autumn years, are surrounded over the course of the four seasons of one average year by friends, colleagues, and family who all seem to suffer some degree of unhappiness. Written by
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So how long's this been going on for?
I don't know.
A few weeks?
A long time.
I Suppose so.
A whole year? You've taken your time to come and see me, haven't you?
See more »
In Mike Leigh's new slice of life, Another Year, a married couple who have managed to remain blissfully happy into their crumbling autumn days are surrounded over the course of the four seasons of one seemingly average year by friends, colleagues, and family, many of whom appear to suffer some degree of unhappiness or at least confusion. The film is nicely segmented into chapters, following the seasons. All of life is there - from birth, to a funeral. Strangely, or conveniently, given the apparently troubled lives all round, She works as a psychotherapist, while He builds things, but both spend their spare time together growing vegetables in their allotment. Mary, the secretary in her clinic, takes over the centre of the story as she gradually moves into more of everyone's lives. Or perhaps it's just that the film gradually opens up the relationship that was already there. Just as it is with all the extra characters. As it's a Mike Leigh film, all the actors will all have been living "in character" for maybe six months before breezing through, stirring up the plot with their back story and emotional infrastructure.
Lesley Manville, as Mary, the lonely and unstable girl of a certain age
40, going on 17, really steals this in the final part, which gets
even more intense than the rest of it. One thing I noticed right away was that adding to the intensity of the Mike Leigh close-ups, it's all shot in high-definition digital. But in the end it's the total effect that works. The apparent non-acting. The marvellous thing about Leigh is the way he shows really ordinary people doing really ordinary things and makes them really important. He is so compassionate towards everyone in his stories. You just can't help caring, too.
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