Another Year


***

Another Year sp –  As the title suggestions four seasons pass and nothing has really changed. Seeing this movie reminds us why we are always looking for an interesting story line or some character development where something has changed which in our opinion this film really doesn’t have. For example, Mary (played by Lelsley Manville ) is a reasonably attractive  middle aged single secretary working in a counseling center in London and she periodically visits the home of  one of her co-workers who happens to be counselor. She is clearly an alcoholic, hasn’t been able to establish a good relationship with a man and is barely being politely tolerated during these visits by her friend and her husband. Mary flirts with the couple’s son, is disappointed when she ultimately meets his future wife and even unsuccessfully tries to develop a relationship with the tacit brother of her friend’s husband while he is grieving for his recently deceased wife.  Mary is basically a pathetic person who hasn’t changed at all in the year that we observe her. That’s it! Now, the acting in this movie is fantastic. All the characters seem quite real. The married couple is warm and friendly and Manville very realistically portrays Mary the alcoholic friend, as did the other actors in their roles. In fact, Manville might even earn an Oscar nomination for her acting However, what we found interesting about this film was not what was on the screen, but rather the unique manner in which director writer Mike Leigh uses to put together this film as well as others which he has done.  Lesley Manville was the guest at our preview screening of this movie and she explained how Leigh prepares the barest outline of each character. He then meets separately with each actor for a series of meetings over 2-3 months. During this time the actors invents or develops in detail the background and the history or their character. They construct their family background, likes and dislikes, nature of relationships etc. So then when the characters meet for the scenarios, which Leigh has designed, each actor acts as if they are the character, which they have invented. Various dialogue emerge and Leigh encourages the ones, which he likes. The actors never have a script but ultimately they have agreed upon the words, which they will use when they get around to shooting the film. Seeing the results of this process may be a worthwhile experience for students and aficionados of cinema. It appears to bring out a sense of realism that comes from deep in the soul. However, we get bored and turned off by real people from time to time and we didn’t think the experience of watching these people was worth two hours of our time.(2010)

Category: 3 Stars, Drama | Tags: , , , , Comment »


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