FILM RATING: 2.5 stars
Let me start by saying that Another Year (2010) is not a bad movie, as you might assume from my rating. Even though I didn’t connect with it, it’s a well made film that will connect with certain audiences who appreciate the subtle nuances of the story. Many film critics seem to love the movie, but I’m not one of them. It was just average for me…hence the 2.5 star rating. I just couldn’t get into the story and characters emotionally as much as I wanted to. The plot felt dragged out and a bit too boring.
Writer/Director Mike Leigh, whose probably best known for Secrets & Lies (1996), continues his small character-driven indie films with Another Year. I haven’t seen Secrets & Lies yet, but I’m definitely interested to see if its better than Another Year since I’ve heard such good things about it. Another Year was my first Mike Leigh film, and while I wasn’t impressed with it, I could appreciate the artistic and technical craft that went into producing it. The production design and cinematography supported the story perfectly. The photography didn’t stand out for me, but it wasn’t bad either. I tend to favor more stylistic photography in my movies, but Director of Photography Dick Pope gave the film a realistic look and feel with lots of natural lighting that made it feel like the 4 different seasons in the UK.
The lead actors all gave good solid performances within the story and writing they had to work with. Leslie Manville is probably the best performance, but her character also began to annoy me and get on my nerves by the end. She was just so clingy and immature. So kudos to Manville if that is what she and director Mike Leigh wanted to accomplish. But it didn’t make for a character I could ultimately root for and want to watch again. Jim Broadbent and Ruth Sheen were definitely believable as an older couple in the twilight years of their marriage.
I watched Another Year on DVD, where it looked ok. I’m sure there is a color and picture quality difference that you see on blu-ray. So if you’re going to check this film out, I would watch it in the high definition format and see if that helps you appreciate the film more. I’ll be curious to see what Mike Leigh cooks up next.