In my Cannes Wrap-Up article that I posted earlier today, I proposed the Mike Leigh’s Another Year might not have the chops to make a Palme d’Or run after reading Ray Bennett’s review. However, I have since learned from around the web and Twitter that Mike Leigh’s film has become a hit of the festival. More reviews have been cropping up and the word on the film is very positive with several Tweeters calling it their favorite film of the festival so far.
In one review Anthony Kaufman of IFC directly addresses the issue with lack of narrative and says that was exactly Leigh’s point:
What we’re seeing is just “another year,” as the title suggests, and the changes that occur in that time span are rarely profound. (Though the winter sequence includes a life-changing event, it is not one experienced by the protagonists.) Rather, Leigh wants to examine the experience of lives, both full and empty. And while that may sound anticlimactic, by the film’s last simple, melancholy frame and fade out, the director suggests, perhaps, that’s all a movie really needs.
Charles Gant of The Telegraph says that it’s not only Leigh doing what he does best, but it’s also a fantastically rich film:
Initially, Another Year appears to be another of those low-concept Leigh slice-of-life movies, emerging from his distinct improvisational method without a narrative hook or even much of a theme.
But as spring passes into summer, autumn and winter, Another Year increasingly declares its hand. This is a film about loneliness, in which a caring, considerate, loving couple cannot ever really know what it’s like to lead a life of quiet desperation.
It’s way too early to call, but it looks like this might be the first real Palme d’Or contender after all.
Have I mentioned before that I adore Jim Broadbent?