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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
When Tom explains that the "Ring of Kerry" is an "area", he refers to Tralee and Dingle. In fact these lie on the Dingle Peninsula, and are NOT on the Ring of Kerry. See more »
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 »
Lesley Manville as Mary truly deserves the Best Actor Oscar for her perfectly nuanced, scary and convincing portrayal of a woman on the brink of personal desperation due to her many life mistakes and to her extremely fragile emotional nature that served to spiral her further and further down toward mental illness with every romantic disappointment and life mistake she made. Honestly, I do not think Meryl Streep could have played this role as well. Lesley was that great in it. An astounding performance, and so touching, as you felt every pain Mary felt due to Lesley's spot-on interpretation of her character's neediness and weaknesses and what they cost her.
This film tells a story(by the 4 seasons)of a year in the lives of a UK couple and their friends. Mary is a secretarial co-worker and friend of Gerri, a professional counselor and the sweet wife of her well-rumpled and very likable engineer/geologist husband, Tom(yes, Tom and Gerri). Mary is the woman we all know at some time or another in our lives.... a woman too attractive to always be alone but always is alone after every failed attempt at a relationship, always suffering badly from each failure to find what she wants so badly.
Not much of an intricate plot here, as in all Mike Leigh films, but the story was such an absorbing and typical Mike Leigh take on the day-to-day happenings in the ordinary and everyday lives of a normal UK couple and some at-risk friends. Tom and Gerri were the couple with these friends in various states of decline, and they always tried hard through their gentle patience, understanding and humor to help them and always be there for them. Ruth Sheen and the great Tom Broadbent played the wife/husband roles to perfection, and were so loving, likable and comfortable with each other and with friends that you wished you had them for your own friends. Wonderful portrayals, both.
See this film for engaging personal interaction and for the best acting performance of 2010, but be prepared for your own uncomfortable and awkward feelings throughout due to Mary's many sufferings and how her endless tales of them affected her(long-suffering)friends. It was a truly human story, sometimes warm and funny, sometimes pathetic and difficult to watch, but at the end you knew you had seen acting greatness.
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