This month, British filmmaker Mike Leigh delivers what could be one of the best films of the year, Another Year. Leigh has been nominated for four screenwriting Oscars and two directing Oscars, and is best known in the US for art house favorites Happy-Go-Lucky, Vera Drake, Secrets and Lies, Topsy-Turvy and Career Girls.
Leigh is known for outlining a story, rather than writing a word-for-word script. He then develops the scenes and dialogue with his actors in rehearsal. He is especially notable for directing actresses to Best Actress recognition. Sally Hawkins won a Golden Globe for Happy-Go-Lucky. Imelda Staunton was Oscar-nominated for Vera Drake, as was Brenda Blythen for Secrets and Lies.
In my opinion, Leigh’s masterpiece is his 1999 Secrets and Lies.
Another Year was uniformly celebrated at this year’s Cannes Film Festival. The film observes a year in the life of a happily married couple (Jim Broadbent and Ruth Sheen). They and we pick up insights about themselves and their family and friends.