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Star - Jim Broadbent
Genre - Drama/Comedy
Run Time - 129minutes
Certificate - PG13
Country - USA
Amazon -£ DVD - (£ Blue ray)
To Download - Online at Film4 for free.
Awards - 1 (Oscar, BAFTA and Cannes nomination
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So 'Another Year', the latest dry and lugubrious effort from Mike Leigh, and a director I struggle with. He started off great with the enjoyable Life is Sweet and the brilliant Naked but followed up with the less than invigorating films like Secret & Lies, Topsy Turvey and Vera Drake. The older he gets the more depressing his films become, themes of death, divorce and poverty somewhat regular in his gloomy cannon. But the thing I don't like most about him is his patronizing representation of the working-class, especially the lead female characters, always shrill, giddy and a little bit thick. It's like he demands his female leads to over act to express their working-class emotional state of being. Brenda Blethyn in Secrets & Lies, Alison Steadman in Life is Sweet, Sally Hawkins in Happy-Go-Lucky and Leslie Manville as Mary in this one.
The theme of 'Another Year' is life, and whether you have missed out in it or not, often painful viewing if you have. As you hit late middle age whatever you have is probably your lot now and things not going to get any better. If you're single at 40 something you will be single forever more. Hey, now I'm feeling depressed. As I say, Mike Leigh only does grim domestic reality.
Jim Broadbent ... Tom
Ruth Sheen ... Gerri
Lesley Manville ... Mary
Oliver Maltman ... Joe
Peter Wight ... Ken
David Bradley ... Ronnie
Martin Savage ... Carl
Karina Fernandez ... Katie
Michele Austin ... Tanya
Philip Davis ... Jack
Imelda Staunton .... Janet
Ageing middle-class couple Tom (Jim Broadbent) and Gerri (Ruth Sheen) live a content life of no regrets and a well stocked allotment. Tom is a geologist and Gerri a councilor, who works with Mary (Lesley Manville), who is a nervous wreck and in need of a councilor. She often visits the couple, having a soft spot for Joe (Oliver Maltman), Tom and Gerri's thirtysomething son. Something went on their and she still carries a torch.
We live their daily life through four seasons of one year, starting with a visit from Tom and an emotional Mary for drinks, of which she partakes in one too many.
In summer we meet their university friend Ken (Peter Wight), who comes around for a BBQ and golf weekend. Ken is a rather sad and lonely figure, desperate for someone to talk to in his later years, trying his luck on with Mary, who knocks him back, still smitten with Tom.
Autumn sees Mary head downhill, especially when Tom presents his new girlfriend Katie (Karina Fernandez), Gerri suggesting she sees a councilor.
Winter brings us death, Toms brother Ronnie (David Bradley), and a funeral, angry son-in-law Carl (Martin Savage) blaming everyone else for not being there for his mom. Come January and they do it again...
Extracting big drama out of small events is Mike Leigh's forte and his comedy, therefore, very welcome around those banal routines. I don't dislike his later stuff but it is hard work. He writes and directs pathos into all his stuff and clearly a reflection of the man. But his point in this film is clear. There is a point in your middle years that your lot is not going to improve and this is your life from now on in. I certainly don't regret any of my life and made sure I had as much fun as fate would allow me before my fortieth birthday but you do get stuck in the safety of routine when your youth grays. I'm really glad I did see the world and kiss a lot of pretty girls, as life gets tough half-way and so what ever you did in the first half was probably your best stuff. Only false hope that things will change for the better keeps the demons away thereafter, that emotional desolation coming through strong here.
The acting is typically caricature stuff from Leigh's cast and at times annoying. Jim Broadbent is the best by far here and the welcome dry comic turn. You could feel that the other actors were slightly in awe of him and perhaps had watched one too many mike Leigh movies and played some of those characters from those movies, rather than make the roles their own. Lesley Manville as Mary is just so manic and scatty that you can see she has based it on Brenda Blethyn's role in Secret & Lies, perhaps conceding to herself that this is what the director wants.
Another Year has its moments but too depressing to really enjoy it. With a budget of £8m it did £18m back and so his fans filling the pews and renting the DVD, a welcome Oscar nomination for the director, his seventh in total. He writes and directs well but I think he doesn't convert those nominations because his characters are too cartoony and not that believable, his fatal flaw when it comes to awards. But hey, what do I know.
Imdb.com - 7.3/10.0 (18,490 votes)
Metacrtic.com - 80% critic's approval
Rottentomatos.com - 93% critic's approval
Daily Mail-'Leigh creates a fascinating diorama in which life-long and contented couple Tom and Gerri sit in sympathy and in judgment on the lonely friends that orbit them'.
Rolling Stone -'Mike Leigh's films are one of a kind'.
Washington post -'Only Leigh could find so much pathos in ripe, rounded happiness.'
San Francisco -'Another Year" is a gutsy movie, in that Leigh says something about life that nobody really wants to believe, and he says it forcefully: There is such a thing as "too late."
Digital Spy -'Mike Leigh is often dumped in the dour, 'kitchen sink' genre of British film-making, but that is to overlook his wily sense of humor'.
The NYPost -'[Observes] the thin lines and acute angles which separate well-adjusted people on a continuing path of contentment from the less fortunate ones who live lives of regret and desperation'.
Movie Habit -'Brilliantly acted and unafraid of pain, Mike Leigh's latest takes us to uncomfortable places'.
Movie Talx.com -'Actors will tell you that Leigh's method gives their characters a hinterland. Why is it, then, that they so often look to me like exaggerated caricatures?'
Flicks.com -'A masterful exploration of aging, family bonds, strength and loneliness'.
Another Year is a British film directed by Mike Leigh and I watched it over the bank holiday with my parents and grandma as it came on TV and my mum said it had good five star reviews. Therefore we had quite high expectations. However I have to admit when I heard it was Mike Leigh I did think "oh no what am I in for" as I had absolutely hated his film Happy Go Lucky when I saw it at the cinema years ago, even though it seemed well rated and reviewed by many. It seems like Mike Leigh's style is not really for everyone, you could say!
Anyway I thought I would give it a try. The basic premise of the film is that there is a couple, Tom and Gerri, in their middle age who are happily married and making the best of their life. We see a year in their life and that of their various friends and family members who come by their house for dinners, garden parties etc and who are all experiencing various problems and I think it is supposed to highlight how happy Tom and Gerri are and that a good life can be a quiet content one and doesn't have to be anything spectacular.
The main friend who crops up time and time again through out the film is Mary. She works with Gerri and they have known each other twenty years or so. At first Mary seems bubbly but even during the first dinner we see that she has a lot of issues, gets really drunk and upset about her failed relationships as she has ended up lonely and single, feeling a lot of regret about how everything managed to go wrong in her life. This is very cringey but somehow quite compelling viewing. An annoying habit she has which is a personal peeve of mine is that she always constantly uses people's names when talking to them, e.g. "What's that Tom?" "You like that don't you Gerri" type thing. This made it annoying to watch for me as I just hate this habit! I have to say Mary is acted well and realistically, as are Tom and Gerri, but its just a bit tedious to see full, not that eventful but just slightly cringey exchanges between them all.
As it goes on we have more disasters from Mary as she gets a car that she wanted but it keeps causing her trouble, she fancies someone totally inappropriate for her (Tom and gerris son) and someone she doesn't like tries it with her...
Another character is Ken, who is the one who likes Mary. He is also single, now past it very overweight and just eats and drinks and feels quite depressed. Not much happens with him. It is just sad to see.
The brother of Tom is also a sad character as his wife does and he is left sad and alone. His grown up son is a waste of space.
There is also Tom and gerris son who eventually gets a girlfriend, which upsets Mary...
A few things were left unfinished such as there is one character played by imelda Staunton who is depressed no getting counselling and she just seemed to never turn up again in the film.
Basically it is very character driven rather than plot driven. It is realistic but just very dreary. I wanted to keep watching and find out what happened, but I wouldn't say I was enjoying it. If watching alone I would have got bored but at least with my mum I was able to talk through it and laugh at some of the more ridiculous things in it!
On the whole, I don't think it really deserved the five stars and rave reviews as it was not really that entertaining and I didn't really enjoy it. However there is something to it as I would say it is well acted and some parts realistic. Obviously some love it judging by other reviews so if you do like this type of thing then give it a try, but its not really for me.
RELEASED: 2010, Cert. 12
RUNNING TIME: Approx. 129 mins
DIRECTOR/SCREENPLAY: Mike Leigh
PRODUCER: Georgina Lowe
MUSIC: Gary Yershon
Lesley Manville as Mary
Ruth Sheen as Gerri
Jim Broadbent as Tom
Oliver Maltman as Joe
Peter Wright as Ken
David Bradley as Ronnie
Also stars (sub-main cast) Philip Davis as Jack, Imelda Staunton as Janet, Michele Austin as Tanya, Karina Fernandez as Katie and Martin Savage as Carl
FILM ONLY REVIEW
Tom and Gerri (the pun on their names intended) are a happily married middle-aged couple. Gerri is a counsellor attached to a GP/Health Centre practice and Tom is a geologist. Together, they manage an allotment and appear to share household chores, such as cooking, and they have an adult son called Joe who is a legal advisor in the area of property.
Regular visitors to Tom and Gerri's house are Ken, a lonely, overweight chain-smoking wine/beer-fuelled glutton, and Mary, an ageing yet still attractive divorcee. Mary works as a secretary at the same place as Gerri, and they have been good friends for thirty years.
Despite wanting to appear as a very 'together', self-driven and independent woman, Mary is a fragile, needy, neurotic individual who relies heavily on Gerri's support and friendship. Her state of mind isn't improved by constantly having to fend off Ken's unwanted attentions, and being consumed by jealousy towards Joe's girlfriend Katy - as she herself, Mary, is strongly attracted to Joe.
The film Is divided into four sections, each dealing with a season of the year (the first being spring), taking the viewer through an interesting and at times complex interaction between the main characters.
Sticking to his usual format, Mike Leigh has presented us with another delightful cinematic feast which focuses on ordinary people and their ordinary day to day lives, bringing to the fore his unique skill in making films of this type that are absorbing, fascinating and superbly acted.
Employing a select group of actors which he has used in many of his previous films, Leigh strikes gold again with the cream of the British crop of stage, TV and cinema, he seeming to have a perfect knack for knowing and blending who will work well together... and his choice for Another Year yet again comes up trumps.
Each cast member plays his or her part with utter brilliance. Ruth Sheen is perfect as Gerri, the rather laid-back NHS counsellor who is settled in her happy marriage to Tom. In some of Leigh's older plays and films, Ruth Sheen was often chosen for happy-go-lucky type roles, yet he now seems to cast her in gentler, more serious and grounded parts which she handles just as well. Jim Broadbent is also very good as the easy-going, gentle-natured Tom and he is just as happy married to Gerri as she is to him. The only little complaint I have about Broadbent's delivery is that for the role, he was required to adopt a northern accent, and I feel he didn't perfect it as he kept slipping out of vernacular, but such is a minor and ignorable issue within this wonderful film.
It is very difficult to pick a favourite actor from such a high-quality cast. Imelda Staunton only has a small part at the beginning of the film, playing the role of an ageing, depressed insomniac housewife who is sent to Gerri for counselling...but her skill is nothing short of pure perfection. I was also very impressed with David Bradley as Ronnie (who is Tom's brother) and the way he acted out the part of an ageing man whose wife has suddenly died, leaving him almost catatonic with grief and shock. Peter Wright was wonderful as the lonely, gluttonous Ken - a friend of Tom and Gerri's - who over the years slipped into a lifestyle of self-indulgence in order to eat, drink and smoke down his pain and sense of isolation in the world. Wright is one of my all-time favourite actors, and he never fails to impress me. In addition, I think this is the best ever role I've seen him play.
However, my absolute favourite has to be Lesley Manville's truly stunning portrayal of the amiable, but twittery and neurotic Mary who at first and on the surface appears to be a happy, free and easy divorcee, yet when her frequent wine-quaffing sessions smash down the barriers and bring her true feelings to the fore, the result is a sad, lonely, emotionally awash, clinging woman who almost totally depends on Tom and Gerri's friendship and hospitality. Lesley Manville happens to be probably my all-time favourite female actress, and she supersedes even her own brilliance in this demanding role which I personally view as being the overall main character in Another Year.
The musical score is very similar to some other Mike Leigh productions, a little sad, and probably falling within the light orchestral genre.
From the moment I clicked the 'play' button until the absolute end, I was totally enrapt, absorbed and caught up in the lives of Mary, Tom and Gerri, but was a little disappointed that Janet, the depressed lady played by Imelda Staunton, only made a fairly brief appearance near the beginning of the film. However, what followed more than made up for that.
It is just as difficult to pinpoint why Another Year is such an intriguing, absorbing film as it is for any of Mike Leigh's works, but I suppose that's where the skill lies of him as director, together with his production team and the actors all working so very well together to create a feature-length drama which draws viewers into some compelling ordinary life situations, yet not in a tacky, soap-opera-ish way.
There are various repeated little idiosyncrasies which run through Leigh's film dramas, one of them being people answering questions wrongly then correcting themselves after a little pause for thought, and this happens quite a lot in Another Year, mostly coming from Mary's character in this instance.
There was a point during Another Year where I actually felt quite emotional, and I'm not sure whether it was due to the atmosphere created or my own vulnerability over the topic in question....perhaps a mixture of both. This part was when Tom and Gerri arrived at Ron's house in Derby for the funeral of his wife. The whole atmosphere of the family interaction, before, during and after the funeral, was so bleak and depressing, yet in an acutely good and moving way.
I did feel a little sad for another reason whilst watching Another Year, in that it brought me down to earth with a huge bump, seeing how these actors who have graced Mike Leigh's films and plays for so many years, are now showing very definite signs of age. It just brought it home to me how old I've become myself.
Whether you are a fan of Mike Leigh's films or not, if you enjoy a drama that has more of the quality of a play about it, and which focuses on ordinary situations together with very strong character development and interaction - plus peppered with a tiny tinge of amusement here and there - then Another Year surely would be a film that you'd love. Everything about it is spot on, and fascinating to the point where it almost feels as though you are part of the scenario yourself. In my opinion Mike Leigh can do no wrong, and this film chalks up another golden accolade on his cinematic scoreboard.
My simple recommendation is.....watch it!
At the time of writing, Another Year can be purchased from Amazon as follows:-
New: from £3.14 to £21.99
Used: from £2.36 to £21.99
Collectible: Only one copy currently available @ £3.75
A delivery charge of £1.26 should be added to the above figures.
Thanks for reading!
~~ Also published on Ciao under my CelticSoulSister user name ~~
Another Year centres around four telling episodes in the year of Tom (Jim Broadbent) and Gerri (Ruth Sheen) and their family and friends. Divided into four sections - Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter - each filmed around an event such as a garden party or a family funeral which brings (sometimes forces) the characters together.
As this is a Mike Leigh film it's all about the truth of the characters. We have the happily married Tom and Gerri and their amiable and intelligent lawyer son - played very well by Oliver Maltman, weirdly last seen (by me anyway) in the childish but very funny Star Stories. Around them are a circle of much less stable and able characters. Lesley Manville is excellent as the jittery, lonely and rather desperate friend of Gerri's who relies on the bottle. Peter Wight is Tom's friend Ken, another drinker and also sad and quietly desperation poorly concealed just under his jokey exterior. Imelda Staunton is unforgettable with only a couple of minutes of screen time as a patient of counsellor Gerri. And Tom's brother and his son, shown in the aftermath of bereavement, are a study in family dynamics gone wrong.
You can probably tell from this that there are no rose-tinted spectacles here, although there are many wryly funny moments. The content and well-adjusted Tom and Gerri are circled by damaged and lonely individuals, providing some kind of stability and support. But there are no easy answers - Tom and Gerri cannot save these lost souls, only be there for them and try to nudge them in a better direction.
The performances are key in a film such as this, and no one disappoints. Manville in particular perfectly treads a fine line with her character Mary, who is nervy, chatty and needy, and often drunk. On her first appearance I was worried that it was going to be a little over the top, but she nails it perfectly. Taken together, one of the strongest casts I've seen in a Mike Leigh film, with all of the characters presented as whole, 3-dimensional people.
All in all, a fantastic film. If you like Mike Leigh films, well this is one of his best. If you don't, you probably haven't read this far anyway!
Director and writer Mike Leigh knows that stories about real people aren't for everyone, but at least he doesn't compromise his art. You won't see him adding spectacular special effects and ignoring things like the script, acting and direction just to make a buck. But that means that movies like "Another Year" won't be considered blockbusters and won't get the box office take or promotional hype because they don't include Hollywood's beautiful people. Instead, Leigh tells us a story using actors that look like ordinary people, in situations that mirror our own.
Here we get Jim Broadbent, who is always a pleasure to watch - he's so human and at ease on screen, you believe everything about him in the part of Tom. Mind you, he always seems to get these lovable characters to play. With him we get Ruth Sheen, who plays Gerri, (and yes, the "Tom & Jerry" joke doesn't go unsaid, but then it wouldn't in real life either), who is just marvelous as Tom's dowdy but comfortable wife and the chemistry she has with Broadbent is perfect. Central to the story is Mary, played by Lesley Manville, looking uncharacteristically disheveled and acting perfectly like a woman who has made far too many mistakes in her life but still can't figure out why her life is such a mess. Here she's now feeling the pain of loneliness so much that she's well on her way to becoming a full-blown alcoholic. Everything is in place with her, from fiddling with her hair when she flirts with a stranger in the pub or even making eyes at her friend Gerri's son.
Leigh's script gives us just enough to understand that this is mostly Tom and Gerri's story. We are given four seasons of a loving couple with so much heart that friends and family can count on them in times of trouble. And come to them they do - almost in droves. They make fun of themselves but never of others, and while we see they know they could do more for their friends, they aren't judgmental or pushy with their opinions. This is pointed up in Tom and Gerri's relationship with their son Joe, played by Oliver Maltman, being one that most parents would love to have - and certainly they deserve it. Even so, a mother is a mother and her hopeful prodding regarding Joe's 30-year old single status will bring a wry smile to anyone's face. But nothing seems to faze them for more than a moment or two, and even when Mary takes a little too much advantage of their hospitality and friendship, they know just how to gently rebuke her. One question we have is why do they put up with her? Being a therapist, Gerri knows Mary needs professional help, but Mary resists, believing Gerri will be enough for her. And to be honest, if you had a friend like Gerri, you would prefer to lean on her too.
That brings us back to the opening of the film that contains a lovely cameo from Imelda Staunton playing Janet, a troubled woman who only wants some sleeping pills since she hasn't slept the night through for almost a year. Her doctor is only willing to give her enough sleeping pills for a week (which makes us think she only wants the pills in order to end it all), and suggests she meet one of their counselors - after which we meet Gerri. This is the set-up for the whole film, which becomes obvious very early on, and is later cemented at the movie's end. This doesn't bother the viewer at all, and essentially leaves us with some bittersweet feelings. One of these is that sometimes, no matter our good intentions and efforts, there are people who just aren't meant to be happy. On the other hand, those of us who truly are happy can be a comfort to these sad folk, without ever rubbing our happiness it in their faces.
While this is a slow moving film, it doesn't seem to drag and little things like Tom & Gerri's trips to their allotment in both rain and shine, or the nervous conversation-stopping lines delivered by Joe's new girlfriend all add to the mixture and give the characters a more rounded appeal. This is shown not only through the lines the actors are given, but in the silences and looks as well - all the more proof that a good director and a cast that work well together don't need fancy window dressing to tell a good story. What's more, this film is both fascinating, and heartwarming in many ways. For instance, in today's world of easy divorce, it is nice to see a couple still together after so many years and still so in tune with each other. What makes this film optimistic is that they are never brought down by the pain of others and rather find personal comfort in comforting those in need. And despite some of the misery shown here through Mary and two other characters, we can be thankful there are still people like Tom and Gerri out there.
This movie got five BAFTA nominations and it wouldn't surprise me if they take some of them home. "Another Year" is superbly acted, carefully directed, perfectly written and probably one of the finest films to come to the screen in a very long time. Moreover it is one that people will always find relevant, and able to enjoy without the need for special eye-wear. Certainly this deserves five stars out of five and is highly recommended.
Davida Chazan © December 2010
This will be released on February 28th 2011, and is available for pre-order on Amazon for £10.99.
What can be so interesting about an old but loving married couple who could not be happier with their lives? Well, according to Mike Leigh, the director of one of this year's best films, quite a lot. It's the people around them that present all the deep, complex emotional problems. In a film that is separated over one year, the four seasons bring about four unique episodes of supporting characters with their own struggles. For Tom (Jim Broadbent) and Gerri (Ruth Sheen), the blissfully married couple, the coming year is just...well..."another year," but a year can bring out so much pain in others, pain that they have to acknowledge and ultimately, deal with.
Fulfilling jobs (He's a geologist, she's a medical counsellor), nice soothing hobbies, stable home, healthy conversations, great meals are what make up Tom and Gerri's successful marriage. But just because they're living the picture-perfect life, it doesn't mean their friends are. Take Gerri's colleague Mary (Lesley Manville) for example; after a string of unsuccessful relationships including some failed marriages, she is lonely, and knocking back glasses of wine is a common occurrence for her sad existence. She has not given up hope, and is convinced that men are still interested in her. She eventually sets her eyes on Tom and Gerri's only son Joe (Oliver Maltman), and is quite naturally bitter and devastated when he brings around a young, attractive, perky fiancée (Karina Fernandez) home one day.
So many of the events seen in "Another Year" seem uninteresting, an everyday happening that takes place all around us. A male/female friend visiting for dinner, a son visiting for a few days, Tom's sister-in-law passing away etc...but Leigh makes sure that every single event means something significant and with the film's central theme of company and loneliness, each seasonal episode is there to bring about new revelations and new characters that make a significant impact on the general flow of the film's narrative.
Tom and Gerri are great to those around them. No matter how annoying or slightly inappropriate some of their friends may be, they tolerate them with all their heart. Mary, all alone with her tiny car she drives so nervously, goes on and on (always with a large glass of wine in one of her hands, of course) about the most insignificant details of her life. She gets chattier and makes even less sense when drunk. Her rambling may be hysterical at first, but as she continues her blabbering, the audience is given enough time and invasive close-up shots to realise just how hopeless the character is. Manville arguably gives the best performance in a film full of outstanding ones. She brings out enough humour from her character but every facial expression on her face reminds us of something more depressing and desperate. She may not be a likable character, but is someone you can feel sympathy for. Manville magically transforms this otherwise hateful spinster into a victim of chronic loneliness. The film's final moment is focused solely on Manville and no one else. The camera stays on the actress' face for a good few minutes. With no music or background dialogue, Manville alone is perfectly able to portray the fear and worry for the tragedy that no doubt awaits her. Hollywood has never been too kind to British performers and although Manville deserves a Best Supporting Actress Oscar and many more awards of its kind more than anyone this year, it's highly unlikely she will win. But she should clear some space on her shelves for some UK awards she is bound to win.
Yet another struggling victim is Ken (Peter Wight), a heavy-drinking (He downs three glasses of wine and a can of beer as Tom and Gerri gracefully enjoy their first glasses of wine), heavy-eating (Vegetables? No thank you) and heavy-smoking lad in his 60's who has obviously been alone for far too long; he tries to find some sort of deep companionship with Mary, something that ends with a hysterical outcome. He tries to put on a brave face to start with, but as he opens up more and more about his personal life, even the tough exterior cannot keep his tears from flooding out. His breakdown scene is handled beautifully, with Wight's highly sentimental, teary portrayal and the warm-hearted Gerri walking over to his side, hugging him.
Another brief but powerful section of the film takes place when Tom, Gerri and Joe visit Ronnie (David "Argus Filch" Bradley), Tom's older brother, after his wife passes away. Bradley, as can be expected, is in shock, in total withdrawal from society and people. He is leading a ghost-like existence, and with the help of Tom's family, barely gets himself together to finally say goodbye to his wife. The funeral is going smoothly in a depressingly empty church, until Ronnie's rebellious, hooligan-looking son Carl (Martin Savage) struts in almost at the end of the service. Carl obviously has a lot of issues and uncontrollable sense of anger towards his father who he deems unfit and pathetic. Savage only appears for a short scene, but his powerful presence is an unforgettable one, and his no-nonsense, audacious performance is one that sticks to the mind, because of how much chaos and terror his single character brings into an otherwise peaceful, mourning household.
Mike Leigh's go-to cinematographer Dick Pope once again works his magic here creating beautiful scenery of the four seasons set largely around the house of Tom and Gerri. He moves the audience from one season to another with elegance, portraying each season with utmost care to fit the various events that are prepared for us.
Rich with low-key, often subtle but hugely effective humour as well as some heart-wrenching drama, "Another Year" is one of Leigh's finest works of his career. The title and general gist of the film may be off-putting for some for being "too British." And yes, this is as British as they come, but it's simply outstanding because of it. With its ups and downs, laughs and tears, "Another Year" is the note-perfect human drama that examines closely but never takes itself far too seriously.