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High Hopes (1988)

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The life of a working class couple living in London and their complicated relationships with other members of the family.

Director:

Mike Leigh

Writer:

Mike Leigh
5 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Phil Davis ... Cyril (as Philip Davis)
Ruth Sheen ... Shirley
Edna Doré Edna Doré ... Mrs Bender
Philip Jackson ... Martin
Heather Tobias Heather Tobias ... Valerie
Lesley Manville ... Lætitia
David Bamber ... Rupert
Jason Watkins ... Wayne
Judith Scott Judith Scott ... Suzi
Cheryl Prime Cheryl Prime ... Martin's Girlfriend
Diane-Louise Jordan Diane-Louise Jordan ... Chemist Shop Assistant
Linda Beckett Linda Beckett ... Receptionist
Ali Ali ... Baby
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Storyline

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 Cyril's pretentious sister and philandering husband. Shirley wants a baby, but Cyril, who reads Marx and wants the world to be perfect, is reluctant. Cyril's mum locks herself out and must ask her snooty neighbors for help. Then Cyril's sister Valerie stages a surprise party for mum's 70th birthday, a disaster from start to finish. Shirley holds things together, and she and Cyril may put aside her Dutch cap after all. Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Comedy | Drama

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

24 February 1989 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Belle speranze See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

£1,800,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$1,192,322
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Quotes

Rupert Boothe-Braine: Now... what made this country great was a place for everyone, and everyone in his place. And this is my place.
See more »

Connections

Featured in The EE British Academy Film Awards (2015) See more »

Soundtracks

Lonely Street
(uncredited)
Written by Carl Belew, Kenny Sowder and W.S. Stevenson
See more »

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User Reviews

 
funny, sad, and sweet!
28 June 2017 | by framptonhollisSee all my reviews

Surprisingly, this is the first Mike Leigh film I have seen. and I am glad to finally be exploring his filmography since he has intrigued me for quite some time, and I am happy to say with full enthusiasm that my first Leigh movie watching experience was wonderful.

"High Hopes" is a slice of life type film in which there is little plot, but rather a series of events that serve almost as a two hour long snapshot taken at a very specific time in the main characters' lives. While there are many interconnected characters displayed, each with their own mini story arc that can range from light comedy to dark tragedy to somewhere in between, at the center of the film is a likable young couple. A political undercurrent runs throughout the final half hour of the film dealing with the state of England under Margaret Thatcher and the beliefs of a socialist and Marxist, which is all quite interesting even if it makes the film somewhat outdated (but, with me, that isn't much of a problem); however, the film, in the end, is no so much about politics and ideology, but more so about the human spirit and its many triumphs and failures, life and it's many ups and downs. I fell in love with some of the characters in this film, and always felt deep care and concern for them. One shot in particular will always remain in my memory; it is the haunting image of an elderly women on her seventieth birthday as her family explodes (not literally) into chaos behind her. We can only see the elderly women, and we can only hear her screaming, bickering family members under the melancholic sounds of the film's often bleak score. This fragile lady is left to do no less than stare into nothingness, a fragile victim of the world's evils. But...this film is not a hopeless tragedy; rather, it is a hopeful comedy in the end, for, in the end, positivity seems to conquer the tears and tragedies that plagued the film in earlier moments (although not EVERY character seems to receive a "happy ending").

This film is a(n often darkly) humorous look into the lives of some very realistic and unique individuals as they struggle and smile through life. It is a film about love, compassion, strength, weakness, loneliness, politics, society, intimacies, and more. A beautiful feat of comic and dramatic filmmaking that sadly remains overlooked and obscure to this very day; fortunately, Mike Leigh was still rewarded in later years with a reasonably successful and highly praised career made up of many movies critics claim to be masterpieces, many movies that I now cannot wait to get my hands on!


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