Saturday, May 14, 2011

Another Year

Rating : 7/10
Release Date : November, 2010
Time : 129 minutes
Director & Writer : Mike Leigh; Music : Gary Yershon
Starring : Jim Broadbent, Ruth Sheen, Lesley Manville, Oliver Maltman, Peter Wight, David Bradley, Martin Savage, Karina Fernandez, Imelda Staunton

A beautiful film showing the different ways we humans seek unhappiness or refuse to confront our problems head on.

We meet a woman who just wants to sleep, wants sleeping tablets but is unwilling to confront the issues which are making her insomniac. In a telling moment, when asked to remember the happiest moment of her life she can think of nothing

We meet Mary, who just wants a man and to be liked, though not necessarily in that order. Bright, vacuous (her car purchase telling us all we need to know about her ‘upstairs’ control room) and vivacious, fighting hard against age, desperate to find a man to the extent that she will hit upon almost anyone. Is a secretary but hates being called that.

We meet Ken. Unfit. Drinks more than your friendly neighbourhood fish. Smokes. Bemoans the change around him. How the friendly pubs have all become bars and lounges (its so true in UK, BTW, know several which have done so). How the young are noisy and intolerant of the elders. And he would love to have a companion.

We meet Joe. Bright. Helpful. Happy. But all the time being asked whether he’s found someone yet. And he just may have a surprise or two in store there.

And, most of all, we meet Tom and Gerri. The couple through whom we meet everyone else. The couple who are very relaxed, comfortable with each other, perfect companions, enjoying the different stages of life together. Who don’t really understand why people struggle so hard for happiness.

Its an interesting contrast provided – the happy couple vs the individuals and their issues. We see it all over the course of a year, with different seasons showcasing different chapters and introducing new characters. The contrast between Tom and his helpless elder brother was also nicely shown, underlining once again the importance of keeping pace with the times and the perils of over dependency (in this case on his wife).

It’s a slow, gentle movie. Barring a few minutes, there aren’t even any raised voices. Its all about characters, building sketches for us of different people. And I found it very interesting…

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