Not at the Oscars – Lesley Manville

Let’s forget The King’s Speech for a moment and remember a british film from the past year with a slightly less uplifting tale to tell. Another Year may be a bit meandering at times but it truly touched me, and in a wholly appropriate way.

Yes, the changing colour palette was far from subtle, and there was a random appearance from Imelda Staunton that no one seems to mention, but besides that the film was amazing. Despite this it has just one Oscar nomination and it is for the Screenplay… something Mike Leigh tends to go without.

All I’m asking for is some recognition for Lesley Manville’s performance of the deeply flawed Mary. Sure she might not stand a chance against Hailee Steinfeld but she was a hell of a lot better than Helena Bonham Carter. It’s not that Carter was bad, just that Manville completely blew me away. The whole cast was fabulous but anyone that has seen the film will know that Manville completely owned it.

Give her an Oscar!

Another Year – Review

Last night Boris Johnson bumblingly introduced Mike Leigh’s Another Year, slightly awkward when Mike Leigh later thanked the UK Film Council, an institution axed by Johnson’s own party. That’s enough of politics though…

Another Year is beautiful, sad and not quite perfect. Ruth Sheen and Jim Broadbent play the happily married couple Tom and Gerri who act as a strong contrast to Lesley Manville’s tragic singleton Mary.

The film takes place over a year, split into four seasons in the lives of Tom and Gerri. Each season has subtly different colouring barring Winter where the grey tones are a bit jarring, and the film becomes nothing short of depressing before fading to black with no real conclusion.

The film is a masterclass in brilliant dialogue heavy scenes and good old fashioned character acting. Lesley Manville steals the show and is at first hilarious and then utterly heartbreaking. The lack of a proper ending allows the film to live on in your head, even if it is dissatisfying.

Not quite sure what was going on with Imelda Staunton at the start.

After the film Leigh, Manville, Sheen and Broadbent did a short Q&A that was barely audible. They mostly discussed the way the film was written, with Leigh building up each character from birth with each individual actor before they got together and created dialogue. It’s a unique method, but one most writers don’t have the luxury of. And now for another poor quality photo:

Another Year is on general release on 5th November 2010 and is good stuff 80% of the time.