Nick Schager Reviews Another Year

After an ever-so-slight reprieve with Happy-Go-Lucky, Mike Leigh returns to full-fledged miserablism with Another Year. Schematically split into seasonal segments – and beginning with Spring so that funereal Winter might naturally conclude the grim proceedings – Leigh’s latest concerns a cheery couple, geological engineer Tom (Jim Broadbent) and counselor Gerri (Ruth Sheen), and their recurring get-togethers with a series of despondent friends. Those include Tom’s longtime pal Ken (Peter Wight), an overweight gluttonous drunk, and Gerri’s co-worker Mary (Lesley Manville), a staggering mess of a boozehound whose barely concealed depression over being unmarried and adrift bursts forth after too much wine. Leigh’s attention to character detail and interpersonal dynamics is as astute as ever, and his social critique is harshly even-handed, censuring both the judgmental middle-class Tom and Gerri as well as their pathetic working-class mates.

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