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Another Year

When it comes to reviewing movies I am not completely self-taught. Not only did I take every film and drama course in high-school, I also endeavored to fill my electives with the same in university. At Western I took a variety of writing, literature, and film classes to round out my theological focus.

Having overloaded my third year with required courses, my fourth year was an adventure through an exciting bunch of electives. I took Screen-Writing, 17th Century Literature, and a Religious Studies course titled “The Meaning of Life at the Movies.” Taught by an eccentric King’s College professor, the class was not only an odd alternative credit, it also introduced me to a plethora of films I would have never watched on my own.

There was Brokeback Mountain, The Squid and the Whale, and the stale yet haunting Secrets & Lies. The last film in this list was my first experience with the brooding British Writer/Director Mike Leigh. Last week I experienced my second.

In late 2010 Mike Leigh released his latest project, Another Year. If you’re familiar with Mr. Leigh than this is the expected fanfare, (and thank God!). The cast is filled with his usual everyday Brits, and his story plays as a dark and dragged out reality, typical to his style.

Tom & Gerri act as the central relationship that all the abstract characters rotate around. Their ongoing happiness contrasts the depression of Mary, Ken, and their other dreary friends and family perfectly. Beginning in ‘Spring’ and including a story from all the other seasons thereafter, it truly is the tale of ‘Another Year,’ (and four important moments therein).

It’s clever, it’s extremely tangible, but most important of all it’s completely eclipsing of any and all emotion. It leaves you sad, and constantly so, that though you’ve made it through… here comes another year.

Many people dislike depression, and rightfully so. Nevertheless it is an emotional state we all enter into, and for most, more often than admitted. I love Mike Leigh and his films because they are an honest and artistic look at sadness. The purity of emotion is important, and melancholy movies are hard to come by. Melancholy is a strange bedfellow of mine, so I thank Mr. Leigh for expressing that once again for me and my life at the movies.

Comments

  • Anonymous

    Sounds like a cool flick. You may have to make me watch it!

    • Anonymous

      Just be prepared for some quiet extended takes, worrisome/depressed characters, and dull but touching interactions. I think you might like Mike Leigh to be honest. I think a lot of people would if they give him a chance. I’ll always be grateful for that film class that introduced me to his work. On another note, look at “The Squid & the Whale.” Some of Jesse Eisenberg’s greatest work.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Christopher-Michael-Elliott/500513490 Christopher Michael Elliott

    Wow dude. That’s really interesting. I enjoy your take on not only the film but it’s evident theme of depression.

    I’ve definitely experienced my bout of it in the past, and it is just as valid an emotion as the others. People just like to scoff at it and brush it under the rug most of the time. As my old psychologist used to advise me “you must not give in to depression, but acknowledge it’s presence and simply watch it pass on by… because it always does.” A great piece of advice.

    • Anonymous

      @ChrisAndFame ~ That’s really good advice actually. REALLY GOOD! Of all people, you will love this film! I don’t think we’ll have to argue about this one… I hope. SLIIIIIME!

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