From his very first TV movie, Hard Labour, Mike Leigh was already conjuring magic from the mundane, and this box set of pained suburban operas — eight films, two studio plays, all restored — is the masterwork of a national voyeur. The real surprise here is that obvious highlights — Abigail’s Party, Nuts In May — are equalled by ‘lesser’ features. Kiss Of Death and Who’s Who? are a tragi-comic joy; Grown-Ups an unsung classic packed with pathos, Penguin biscuits and a hilarious, nervous-budgie turn from Brenda Blethyn. Tremendous.
Reviewed by Simon Crook
Mike Leigh At The BBC
Released: 27 April 2009
Spot-on: five rare shorts, two droll docs on the Abigail phenomenon (big in Brazil, apparently), an Arena special, Will Self in sparky conversation and, most welcome of all, four new Leigh talk-tracks, including — Hello, Ray! — Nuts In May.