Next up is ANOTHER YEAR, from the great British director, Mike Leigh. Now, Leigh is famous for working with actors a long time before he begins shooting. The result is an uncanny realism, and gives the sense that we're watching and eavesdropping on actual people. This is exceptionally true in ANOTHER YEAR, which focuses on a happily married couple and their family and friends over the course of four seasons. Jim Broadbent and Ruth Sheen are lovely as husband and wife, Tom and Gerri, but Gerri's co-worker Mary, played by Leslie Manville, always ends up making herself, sadly, the center of attention.
>> I heard you're hungry.
>> You know me. You don't really bother when you're by yourself I don't either.
>> You're looking well.
>> Thank you, Tom.
>> You're nice and slim I've always been slim haven't I.
Manville, who has appeared in a lot of Leigh's films, is heartbreaking here. She’s a high-energy bundle of neediness and desire, desperate for human contact, and clearly so, so lonely.
>> We had a lovely lunch.
>> You didn't say you were having lunch Gerri.
>> We have lunch every day.
>> I know you do.
>> Bread and cheese.
>> Nothing special.
>> I thought it was special.
>> It's nice Tom and Gerri have you tasted them.
>> Yeah, loads of times.
Mary makes things even more awkward than usual when she shamelessly flirts with Tom and Gerri's son, Joe, played by Oliver Maltman, who is also single and young enough to be her own son.
>> I remember when you were a figure a naughty boy.
>> I still am from time to time.
>> Oh, really.
>> I like your coat.
>> Oh, thank you. I think I'm a bit overdressed for a Sunday morning what do you think.
>> Is that what you wore in bed?
>> In your bed actually is that all right.
She's an annoying character and you wouldn't want to spend a whole lot of time with her, but Manville is so good she makes you feel sorry for her. Nothing much happens in ANOTHER YEAR and yet, everything is fully realized, and superbly crafted, so, I give it a thumbs up.
Are we going to agree again?
Aww, so sweet! So much love.
Jason Statham and Mike Leigh bring us together.
Very different people.
People usually talk about Leigh as a director of actors and one thing that’s very impressive about ANOTHER YEAR is, I think, the way he uses a lot of aesthetics. For example, different parts of the film are shot on different film stocks, so that there’s a sense of changing seasons. There's a lot of expressive qualities to this movie that maybe get overshadowed by the performances.
CHRISTY: Right, and the writing and all of the actor's gift for improve – so many of them have worked with Mike Leigh before: Jim Broadbent, Ruth Sheen – and you're in the kitchen with them and the discussions are often quite mundane. A lot of it is Mary complaining about her life and, yet, you feel totally immersed in their lives and you want to spend more time with them.
No, it's completely true. Now, this is not – I don't think this is one of Leigh's best films.
No, it's not VERA DRAKE. It’s not SECRETS AND LIES.
Or it’s not NAKED, or even TOPSY-TURVY. Nonetheless this is a really great movie in every respect. It's beautifully directed. It's very well shot by Dick Pope and, uh, you know, just fantastic performances.
It's a little languid I'm not sure it's for everyone. It’s a little languid, and I’d say nothing really happens, or no great epiphanies of any sort, but just a real slice of life.
But regardless of the pacing, I think every person should give this a chance.