Sunday, 2 January 2011

Another Year

I missed this first time around but was very glad to catch it yesterday at Harbour Lights. It was well worth the wait. This is a most excellent film - top class in every respect.

This is an observational movie which has more of a docudrama feel about it. That is to take nothing away from the acting which is superb - each character convincingly portrayed with confidence and comfort like a well-worn pair of favourite slippers. Gerri and Tom are approaching retirement, They exude contentment - in their long marriage, their comfortable home, their respective careers, their son's unhurried wait for a partner and their allotment. Contented stability. They live the suburban utopian dream. It is therefore highly believable that their hospitable kitchen attracts those trapped in their own a dystopian nightmares. So the plot is established, a plot we observe throughout the course of a calendar year with the four seasons and their characteristics reflected in the abundant provision of the allotment.

A colleague of Gerri's, Mary and an old friend of Tom's, Ken are stuck in the same lonely booze-filled rut. Whilst Ken has desires for Mary they are not mutually returned and Mary maintains a fantasy about a possible future with Tom and Gerri's son Joe. Add to this the bleakness of Ronnie, Tom's recently widowed brother and the circle of the depressed and dysfunctional who orbit Tom and Gerri is complete.

The film's simplicity is its master stroke. For just over two hours we are allowed the privilege of observing this couple dispense good-humoured wisdom whilst finding fulfilment in every department of their lives. On one level there is nothing more to this film than that. The beauty of this film lies in the nuanced and intimate detail of the exchanges and the affirmations of life that this couple offer. It is the juxtaposition of their ordinariness against the extra-ordinariness of the affect their lives have on their friends and family that delivers the power within this film. This is an extraordinary film.

Another Year deserves to do very very well in the forth-coming round of awards ceremonies. Do give it your support on screen and on disc. I'll give it 9/10.

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