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Another Year


Stars: Jim Broadbent, Ruth Sheen, Lesley Manville, Oliver Maltman, Phil Davis, Peter Wight, David Bradley, Imelda Staunton, Martin Savage, Karina Fernandez, Michele Austin

Director: Mike Leigh

I feel most critics will like this lovingly-made piece, although detractors may dub it Another Yawn, treading as it does a fine line between absorption and boredom.

Tom (Broadbent) and Gerri (Sheen) have long since learned to live with jokes about their names; they are an oasis of calm and content compared with others in the story, most notably their sad, alcoholic friend Mary (Manville), who has long held a torch for their son (Maltman), still unattached at 30.

Not a lot happens: the wife of Tom's brother (Bradley) dies, his alienated son (Savage) making a brief and angry appearance at the funeral, And Mary grows ever more pathetic. Her purchase of a clapped-out car is a disaster, and she begins to consider anything in trousers, even the bereaved sexagenarian. Gerri, a counsellor, suggests she needs help.

The performances of Broadbent and especially the outstanding Sheen glow with warmth: their personalities and the dialogue director Leigh writes for them make them a pleasure to be with. But the film, atrociously and bleakly coloured by the Deluxe process, is rather a long haul, and, in spite of the high quality of the performances, intermittent tedium remains a constant companion.

David Quinlan

UK 2010. UK Distributor: Momentum. Colour by deluxe.
130 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 12A.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 0, Drugs 0, Swearing 1.

Review date: 01 Nov 2010