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A masterpiece, 4 April 2000

There is so much to love about Mike Leigh's blissful epic about the creative process. This film miraculously manages to be literate and heartfelt at the same time, while allowing for plenty of wit and poignancy. Leigh is so in tune with these characters emotions, nothing is left out. By the glorious conclusion of the picture, one gets an idea why these performers do what they do. The passion for art (whether it be Gilbert & Sullivan operettas or, you know, clay sculpture) is what burns intensely in this movie. I'm saddened that some may judge this film as pretentious or stuffy; true, some of the characters are very egotistical, but the tremendous heart of this film is almost impossible not to be carried away by.

The whole cast is brilliant, especially Shirley Henderson as the tempermental Leonora. A triumph for writer/director Mike Leigh, who has made one of the very best films of the 90s.

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An Oscar-nominated performance steals the picture!, 27 March 2000

Paddy Chayefsky's screenplay is perceptive and even a bit daring for its time. This is an unusually sophisticated Hollywood picture from the 50s that contains some terrific acting. E.G. Marshall is very strong as the eldest of the men, but Oscar nominee Carolyn Jones is brilliant in a small, electrifying performance. She can't be in the film for more than 7 or 8 minutes but is completely memorable. She deserved to win the Oscar.