Typical Mike Leigh movie. That's saying nothing against Mike Leigh because he has made some brilliant films. A very moving film reflecting a working class family life. The blame for their position ultimately rests with the mother. Not something which is easy to agree with.
Verified purchase: Yes | Condition: Pre-owned
A bleak and long film but well worth watching
Don’t watch this film if you want to see a relaxing film, have a laugh or see action/adventures. It is hard going, and downright depressing at times without a shred of humour. It tackles difficult issues such as poverty, dysfunctional family relationships, obesity, teenage pregnancy and alcoholism with searing honesty and realism. All the characters are believable as they are so well acted, and their personalities are fully explored with all their peculiarities, hang ups, strengths and weaknesses. There is strong language throughout and this is not for the easily offended. The film centres on three families living on a run down council estate, but primarily on one family. The unassuming and meek Phil, played by Timothy Spall, is a man whose heart just isn’t in it anymore. He has realised that his wife no longer loves him, and he barely gets through the day as he is near breaking point. They have two children, one hostile and with foul language, the other meek and strangely quiet. Phil tries to connect with his wife Penny but is rebuffed and rebuked. Eventually through a family crisis involving one of the children, the barriers break down and Phil and Penny confront one another and release pent up resentments. They are powerful scenes and well worth hanging in there for. They are able to reconnect on a deeper level and find love again. Mike Leigh likes to show through his films that the love of family can get people through any crisis. Another family in the film do the same, pull together in their own crisis and the strength of character of Maureen shines through as she deals with her difficult daughter in a good humoured and loving way. Overall, this film is tiring to watch, and overly long, and downright bleak! But if you can hang in there, it is well worth it to see how the characters find a way through the pain and to each other.Read full review