Register  |   Log In  |  
Sign up to our weekly newsletter    
Search   
Empire Magazine and iPad
Follow Me on Pinterest YouTube Tumblr
Empire
Trending On Empire
100 Greatest Videos Games Of All Time
Robin Williams: The Big Interview
Empire Visits The Hobbit's VFX Team
Nick Frost:
My Movie Life

The World's End star's pick of the flicks
4Music's Size Does Matter
Introducing your new favourite app
Reviews
STAR RATINGS EXPLAINED
Unmissable 5 Stars
Excellent 4 Stars
Good 3 Stars
Poor 2 Stars
Tragic 1 Star

FILM DETAILS
Certificate
12A
Cast
Jim Broadbent
Ruth Sheen
Oliver Maltman
David Bradley
Imelda Staunton
Lesley Manville
Stuart McQuarrie.
Directors
Mike Leigh.
Screenwriters
Mike Leigh.
Running Time
129 minutes

LATEST FILM REVIEWS
Watermark
3 Star Empire Rating
They Came Together
3 Star Empire Rating
Attila Marcel
3 Star Empire Rating
Life Of Crime
3 Star Empire Rating
Island Of Lemurs: Madagascar
3 Star Empire Rating



5 STAR REVIEWS
Cabinet Of Dr. Caligari, The
5 Star Empire Rating
Two Days, One Night
5 Star Empire Rating
Some Like It Hot
5 Star Empire Rating
A Hard Day's Night
5 Star Empire Rating
Boyhood
5 Star Empire Rating

Another Year
Terrific seasons greetings from Mike Leigh


submit to reddit


Plot
Gerri (Ruth Sheen), a therapist, and Tom (Jim Broadbent), a geologist, are happily married, but mildly concerned that their lawyer son, Joe (Oliver Maltman), is single. They don't quite realise how Mary (Lesley Manville), a fragile work colleague of Gerri's, has come to depend on the couple's friendship. Over the course of a year, at Sunday gatherings, Mary makes faux pas which strain the relationship.


Review
Another Year
It’s a good thing that Mike Leigh has such a consistent track record, since he makes films which would be impossible to pitch to a panel of studio execs. The ‘high concept’ of Another Year is four Sunday afternoons in different seasons, focusing on a still-happy, middle-aged couple and their less well-adjusted friends and relations — and not much actually happening.

It’s all about cups of tea in the kitchen or garden after sessions at the allotment, and the surface dialogue is all about trivia: a saga with a used car which turns out to be a disaster, the fellow with an interesting job who has already bored his friends and family with its details to such an extent that he downgrades himself to a hole-digger, genial reminiscences of wilder youth activities at pop festivals or on the football terraces, long-standing jokes and resentments no-one feels the need to explain but which come round over and over. When someone new to the set-up notices that the central couple are called Tom and Gerri, Gerri (Ruth Sheen) deadpans, “We’ve learned to live with it.” That’s as much of a message as the film runs to, and yet it’s rich in humour, suspense and profundity. Because it seems so uneventful — an old friend visits, the son turns up with a new girlfriend, a sister-in-law dies off screen — every tiny incident, line and even look registers.

Throughout his career, Leigh has worked with a series of outstanding actresses in creating characters who have entered the national consciousness: Bev (Alison Steadman) in Abigail’s Party, Cyn (Brenda Blethyn) in Secrets & Lies, Vera Drake (Imelda Staunton), Poppy (Sally Hawkins) in Happy-Go-Lucky. In Another Year, Ruth Sheen and Jim Broadbent selflessly underplay as a couple who often don’t need to say more than, “Well…” to each other to convey how they feel, allowing Lesley Manville to deliver the knockout performance. Whether getting tipsy and repeating a joke she’s obviously made before (stamping several times and saying, “That’s my carbon footprint”) or fending off an even more desperate singleton (Peter Wight, looking like a public awareness advert for all the symptoms of early cardiac arrest) or disastrously expressing a small disappointment in cutting words when presented with a better-balanced newcomer to the circle, Manville’s Mary is a vivid, unforgettable character.

 Like most of Leigh’s women, Mary verges on archetype or caricature, but is entirely alive and ultimately tragic. There’s an emotional rollercoaster in a single, climactic scene in the ‘winter’ section as a near-cracked-up Mary makes an unexpected visit to mend fences with her friends and finds only Tom’s taciturn, just-widowed, almost-ghostly brother Ronnie (David Bradley) at home, then tries desperately to make conversation with the remote, bewildered man. This is the Leigh method in a nutshell: it’s a sitcom set-up in a drably realistic world, and uses the comedy of embarrassment to dig deep into the psyche. With its structure and rigorous look, this evokes some of the autumnal or wintery achievements of Ingmar Bergman, but in its precise details — without ever losing a sense of these characters as individuals, you keep muttering, “How English” — Another Year may be as close as British cinema can get to the Japanese master of seasonal tea ceremonies and dutifully happy families, Yasujirô Ozu.


Verdict
Measured in pace, yet thoroughly gripping and completely accessible. The title soft-sells the picture, but it's among the best of this or any year. And Manville should clear some shelf space for well-deserved awards.


Reviewed by Kim Newman

Write Your Review
To write your review please login or register.

Your Reviews

Average user rating for Another Year
Empire Star Rating

fail

What was the point of this film? This film made me depressed on how these people spend their days!! Showing a 1 in a million happy couple, desperate lady who we all se in our lives and so so, I wanted to fall asleep during this movie but it was too boring to sleep through ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Dirk Diggler 619 at 12:20, 28 May 2011 | Report This Post


Nope

Yet another screeching female cartoon from this reliably misogynistic fool. Stop. Making. Films. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Crispin_Glover at 09:28, 12 April 2011 | Report This Post


nhassell i agree !!

hey i thought that too. i cancelled my subscrition to empire years ago, i get everything i need from this website. if u could just get rid of kim newman ....... ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by jerkyjudas at 19:05, 30 March 2011 | Report This Post


Ozu...

I too was reminded of Ozu when watching the film which i happen to think was a masterpiece. Manville is just incredible, although often her character seems so real it's difficult to watch the extent of her loneliness unfold- It's a new jewel in British cinema. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by liam_ at 23:34, 10 November 2010 | Report This Post


RE: Not my thing

L: The Great Danton It was boring, t certialny wasn't. The fact that 'Another Year' is little more than a series of awkward social moments and yet is gripping, funny, heartbreaking and endearing is huge testament to the talents Mike Leigh has in drawing performances from his actors - and stands proudly along the likes of his other masterpieces 'Secrets & Lies', 'Topsy Turvy' & 'Vera Drake.' Unsurprisingly the entire cast are completely spot on. Jim Broadbent &... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Qwerty Norris at 13:18, 06 November 2010 | Report This Post


Sublime

MINOR SPOILER It's the straightforward, everyday, often mundane nature of the characters' dialogue and interactions which make this film the beautiful masterpiece it is, the ordinary desires and hopes of people living with the consequences of the decisions they make and the vagaries of chance that we are all subject to. All involved are outstanding, inhabiting their characters with a fullness and easy conviction you simply don't get in most films - a testament to the actors and Leigh's direct... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Davechoc at 19:42, 01 November 2010 | Report This Post


I was surprised to see Mike Leigh out side my local Cineworld in Dublin last Wednesday. He was checking out the place for the films showing at the Jameson film festival. His films are not really my thing either but I think I might check this one out. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by keaneye at 13:03, 01 November 2010 | Report This Post


RE: Not my thing

I can't understand why Empire put the reviews that are going to be in the next magazine up online before the films release date. It just means that people that only buy the magazine for the reviews, are just going to save their money and wait for them to come online, mostly, before the mag even hits newstands. Poor business decision, if you ask me. ... More

Posted by nhassell at 15:09, 31 October 2010 | Report This Post


Not my thing

It was boring, the first hour was ok, but than, I felt a sleep... ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by The Great Danton at 09:10, 31 October 2010 | Report This Post


SPECIAL FEATURE
The 301 Greatest Movies Of All Time EMPIRE READERS' POLL: THE 301 GREATEST MOVIES OF ALL TIME
You turned out in your hundreds and thousands, and here are the results... Browse the full list


CURRENT HIGHLIGHTS
The Empire Podcast #126: Jon Hamm Talks Million Dollar Arm, Mad Men And Beards
Plus Richard Ayoade pops in to talk about directing The Double

15 Of The Weirdest TV Cameos Of All Time
From Michael Palin in Home And Away to Ian McKellen in Corrie

Updated: The 36 Best Film-Related Ice Bucket Challenges
The viral craze that won’t quit takes in some of Hollywood’s finest

The Many Deaths Of Sean Bean
The actor talks us through his on-screen offings

Rogues Gallery: Powers Boothe
Sin City's Roark talks us through his most memorable baddies

Richard Attenborough: In Celebration
Saluting a man who made a lasting impact on cinema and beyond…

Exclusive: Luc Besson Talks Lucy
'There is no bullshit with Scarlett Johansson'

Subscribe to Empire magazine
Get 6 Issues Of Empire For Only £15!

Get exclusive subscriber-only covers each month!

Subscribe today

Subscribe to Empire iPad edition
Get The Empire iPad Edition Today

Subscribe and save maney on annual digital subscription

Subscribe today
Buy single issues

Get 6 issues of Empire for just £15!
Get the world's greatest movie magazine delivered straight to your door! Subscribe today!
Empire's Film Studies 101 Series
Everything you ever wanted to know about filmmaking but were afraid to ask...
The Empire iPad Edition
With exclusive extras, interactive features, trailers and much more! Download now
Home  |  News  |  Blogs  |  Reviews  |  Future Films  |  Features  |  Interviews  |  Images  |  Competitions  |  Forum  |  iPad  |  Podcast  |  Magazine Contact Us  |  Empire FAQ  |  Subscribe To Empire  |  Register
© Bauer Consumer Media Ltd  |  Legal Info  |  Privacy Policy  |  Bauer Entertainment Network
Bauer Consumer Media Ltd (company number 01176085 and registered address 1 Lincoln Court, Lincoln Road, Peterborough, England PE1 2RF)