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Movie Review: Another Year

Alternate Title: Tea and Sympathy

Story: Some people wake up each day and greet it as a gift. Others simply wake up and slog through the day. Masterful director and writer Mike Leigh has once again delivered a mature, wonderful film about people whose different nature falls into one of those two categories.

The film is divided into four chapters represented by the seasons. We meet happily married, well adjusted middle-aged Gerri and Tom. They seem to draw, like magnets, lost and damaged people into their lives. This is a character driven, dialogue rich film where not a lot happens, but you are filled to the brim by the end of the movie. The film is filled with humor, sadness and pathos. We were moved.

Go to see this film and meet Tom, Gerri, Mary, Ronnie, Joe, Ken and Katie and you will want to sit down and have a cup o' tea too.

Watch the trailer here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yypx-Tz8NzU

Acting: Jim Broadbent as Tom, should just get awards for everything that he appears in. He never gives a bad performance.Lesley Manville as Mary is terrific as is Ruth Sheen as Gerri. The entire ensemble cast gives tremendous performances including: Peter Wight, Oliver Maltman, David Bradley, Karina Fernandez, Martin Savage, Michele Austin, Philip Davis. Special mention goes to Imelda Staunton in a strong cameo appearance at the beginning of the film.

Trivia: Most of Mike Leigh's work in theatre and film is done without any initial script. He and the actors improvise their characters and the scenes under his overall control. He is the Grandson of a Jewish-Russian immigrant. His well-known films include Life is Sweet (1990), Topsy Turvy (1999), All or Nothing (2002), Naked (1993) for which he won the Best Director Award at Cannes, the BAFTA-winning (and Oscar-nominated) Palme d'Or winner, Secrets & Lies (1996), Golden Lion winner Vera Drake (2004) and Happy-Go-Lucky (2008).

Predilection: I like Mike Leigh's films.

Critters: None

Food: Food is a big part of this film. Many of the scenes take place around the table.

Sex Spectrum: None

Opening Titles: White type superimposed over a black background.

Visual Art: Visual treats surround Tom and Gerri's house. Not so much anywhere else.

Theater Audience: About 25 other people.

Weather: The film is divided into the four seasons and each is visually felt.

Sappy Factor: 0

Quirky Meter: 0

Squirm Scale: 0

Drift Factor: I paid attention throughout.

Predictability Level: High

Tissue Usage: 0

Oscar Worthy: I would be surprised if somebody did not get a nod or two.

Big Screen or Rental: If you are a Mike Leigh fan like me, the big screen is the way to go.

Length: Two hours and a smidgen.