2.04.2011

REVIEW: Another Year (Mike Leigh, 2010)

We find our characters with the majority of their years behind them. Some view change as a missed opportunity; some feel alienated by encroaching youth culture. All the while, exemplifiably successful Tom (Jim Broadbent) and Gerri (Ruth Sheen) exude warmth, appearing unfazed in their paradisiacal existence. For these constant two all looks to have gone as planned. We follow them through a select four days of just "another year", each day a respectively distinguished slice of Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter, the seasons themselves tonally representative of contemporary life's progressive chapters. Visitors, one in particular (Lesley Manville), come and go seeking the couple's hospitality and passive direction. Much wine is consumed; many stories shared.

We're commonly discouraged from "sweating the small stuff", but then what occupies us so we don't sweat the big stuff, and how do we want to be perceived through these distractions? When our lives fail to conform to our expectations of certain ages and our dreams languish unfulfilled, how does the resulting unhappiness reflect in our carriage? We can spend so many years simply expecting happiness and growing into the comfort zone of anticipation, but what are we to do when the Autumn years approach and nothing's happened? Do we have to accept our lot or are we apt to risk and bargain? Of course this is all up to differences in interpretation, personality and circumstance, but where the more successful revel in their answers, many endure misery, unwilling or unable to break out.

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