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Another Year

Another Year: Slow-Paced Family Drama

  • Jim BroadbentLesley Manville...
  • ComedyDrama
  • Out now
  • Mike Leigh
reviewed by
Salma Tantawi
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Another Year: Slow-Paced Family Drama

Rarely does a film manage both commercial success and critical acclaim; maybe because the material that
appeals to critics doesn’t always attract a broad audience. This is the case
with Another Year, which made critics speechless, was nominated
for several Academy Awards, and left many audiences a bit sleepy.

Another Year revolves around a
happily married couple in the autumn of their years. He (Broadbent) is a
geologist, and she (Sheen) a psychiatrist. Through the course of four seasons,
the film gives insight into their lives and their mostly miserable friends’, each
bearing his or her share of stories of loneliness, loss and regret.

Director
and writer Mike Leigh, who also wrote and directed the cheerful Happy-Go-Lucky (2008),
leaves his trademark combination of witty and sarcastic views on life’s
problems; though this time he’s far less optimistic. The film’s characters are
well-portrayed and relatable with their own distinct personalities and sets of
problems, including the family’s best friend (Manville), who’s usually fretful and nervous.   

The film’s plot is slow-paced and uneventful, there are neither complexities
nor unexpected twists; instead, the film follows normal day-to-day events. The
film has many characters, most of whom seem to have a deep background story
that isn’t revealed. The result is a well-executed chronological account but, most importantly, a two-hour film in which little happens.

One thing
that the film thrives to be is emotional. From the first scene of a woman’s visit to
a psychiatrist to the last scene, most of the characters seem depressed, even
when acting otherwise, which really calls for a round of applause for the cast
who have managed to perfectly portray the hidden sadness without much of a story.

Another Year lives up to its title; just another year of some people’s lives. It expresses a
different side to what we may take for granted and offers a closer look into an
old couple’s home, family and friends. This film may be hard to stomach if
you’re expecting an exciting and entertaining spectacle, which explains the
film’s limited release and its lack of appeal to mainstream audiences.

Like This? Try

Your Friends and Neighbours, Revolutionary Road, Husbands and Wives

360 Tip

Lesley Manville, who plays Mary,  won British Actress of the Year at the London Critics Circle Film Awards for her role in the film. She was also nominated for Best Supporting Actress at the British Independent Film Awards.

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