Mike Leigh

Mike Leigh – Another Year (2010)

Quote:
Mike Leigh is often accused of talking down to his characters. With Another Year, this fan of the British auteur can see why. Leigh’s latest is a lovingly told but insufficiently nuanced story of four seasons, a year in the lives of a happy couple and their miserably single friends. It begins in spring with a close-up of a face locked in abject misery: Asked by a counselor how happy she is on a scale from one to 10, Janet (Imelda Staunton) says one, in effect setting the tone for much of the film. The only happiness here belongs to Gerri (Ruth Sheen) and her husband, Tom (Jim Broadbent), whose relationship is as organic as the vegetables they grow in their backyard, but what’s their secret? No one’s asking, including Leigh. Read More »

Mike Leigh – The Short & Curlies (1988)

A bespectacled wise-cracker, who only communicates through corny jokes, courts the affections of a shop assistant, who – when not getting her hair done by a chatty hairdresser – is forever talking about bodily complaints. Short and sweet, with excellent performances from David Thewlis and Sylvestra Le Touzel (as the courting couple), Alison Steadman (as the hairstylist), and Wendy Nottingham (as her sullen daughter,) Leigh’s slice-of-life drama proves delightful. Read More »

Mike Leigh – “Play for Today” Nuts in May (1976)

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Synopsis:

A faddishly earthy bourgeois couple travels into the country for a camping and walking holiday, but comes unstuck amongst the great unwashed. After a less-than-promising start, they befriend a trainee P.E. teacher from Cardiff, and all proceeds peacefully. However, when a pair of boisterous Brummies arrives at the campsite, clashing personalities soon see tensions rise to the point of violence, in Leigh’s riotously funny telefilm. Winning performances, instantly quotable dialogue, and potent social satire combine to enormously entertaining effect.

— Iain Stott (An Ozu a Day…) Read More »

Mike Leigh – Play for Today: Home Sweet Home (1982)

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From the Guardian:
Home Sweet Home: The tragic-comic tale of a lonely postman, the social workers who chivvy him about his estranged teenage daughter, and his secret affairs with the wives of his fellow postmen. Read More »

Mike Leigh – BBC2 Playhouse: Grown-Ups (1980)

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From DVD Times:
A young working-class couple, Dick and Mandy, move into a council house, to find their old teacher living next door with his wife. Their new life is plagued by endless visits from Mandy’s lonely elder sister Gloria, a situation that finally erupts into a major catastrophe involving the neighbours. Read More »

Mike Leigh – Bleak Moments (1971)

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Synopsis:

The quiet desperate life of a secretary and her retarded sister depicted in a halting sequence of improvised fragments. The uncompromising cinematic debut of British director Mike Leigh

Review:

“Might be too bleak a look at reality for some but it nevertheless is an uncompromising way of brilliantly telling its harrowing story.” Read More »

Mike Leigh – Happy-Go-Lucky (2008)

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Quote:
Unlike Vera Drake, Happy-Go-Lucky probably won’t pick up many awards. It’s not a film with a ‘big statement’ and it signals a return to Leigh’s low-key films in the Nineties, such as Life Is Sweet and, in particular, Career Girls. But whereas those two films were only intermittingly successful, Happy-Go-Lucky’s vivid, absorbing and truthful portrayal of thirtysomething London life shows how far Leigh has developed his craft over the past decade.

There’s also a sense that Leigh’s brand of compassionate realism has become more engaging as cinema and drama becomes overly negative about the human condition. A refusal to rise above the banal and mundane was always Leigh’s glaring weakness as a film maker. But when ordinary people’s everyday life and behaviour has become politicised and problematised, Leigh’s ringing endorsement of free individuals enjoying the good life in twenty-first century Britain has never been more welcome. Read More »