Another Year Directed by: Mike Leigh Written by: Mike Leigh (screenplay) Starring: Jim Broadbent, Lesley Manville, Ruth Sheen, and Oliver Maltman
Ordinary life is delicate business, or so Mike Leigh wants you to think in his latest film. Another Year and its cast of aging characters are both intimately familiar and lived in, and yet like nothing you’ve ever seen. Leigh shows us happiness at its most stable and misery at its most crippling, usually in the same scene.
He does this chiefly through Tom (Jim Broadbent) and Gerri (Ruth Sheen), a happily married couple who are used to each other and the joke that their names often bring out in people. Their life together, though, is something they take seriously. Using their house as a kind of fortress from sadness, Leigh takes us through a year in their lives and the lives of those closest to them. We begin in spring and end in winter; life to death. It sounds more dramatic than it is.
Out of the dozens of reviews we’ve done since we started this blog, we’ve had only 10 A’s. For a movie to deserve a perfect rating here, it doesn’t have to be perfect: it needs to be different. It has to bring something new to the movie table, or do something old so well that it feels new. Here are our 10 ‘A’ reviews, as diverse as an obese teenager’s quest for societal independence or a man avenging his father’s death in 19th century America. (Side-note: though we rarely hand out straight A’s, we’ve also only awarded one F… to a movie ironically called The A-Team.)