Still courtesy of TIFF.
Despite near-universal acclaim, the latest film by British director Mike Leigh (Naked, Secrets & Lies, Happy Go-Lucky) received no major awards at this year’s Cannes Film Festival. But Cannes was quite exceptional this year. “Serious” cineastes had their druthers when Thai auteur Apichatpong Weerasethakul took the coveted Palme d’Or, trumping Leigh and a gaggle of other Cannes favourites. To be fair, Leigh’s Another Year probably didn’t deserve the Palme d’Or, but it is worthy of your attention at TIFF.
A year in the life of a London couple, the cheekily named Tom (Jim Broadbent) and Gerri (Leigh favourite Ruth Sheen), and flighty family friend Mary (Lesley Manville), Another Year is a humane, frequently disarming portrait of middle age. Staged as a series of get-togethers over the course of a year, the film pits the almost insufferable contentment of Tom and Gerri against Mary’s backslide into depression, emotional isolation, and four seasons of white-wine hangovers. Bubbly and flirty at first, Mary slips into despondency after her cockamamie attempt to enter her friends’ inner cloister is foiled when Tom and Gerri’s son (Oliver Satlman) rejects her half-soused advances. It’s an excellent turn by Manville. It’s also a fine, if on the whole unremarkable, effort by Leigh: one which illustrates that spring’s promise of rebirth can so quickly give way to the chilly loneliness of the winter.
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