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Another Year (Two-Disc Blu-ray/DVD Combo)

4.0 out of 5 stars 78 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

From seven-time Oscar nominee Mike Leigh comes this critically acclaimed slice of life starring Academy Award winner Jim Broadbent (Best Supporting Actor, Iris, 2001), Lesley Manville and Ruth Sheen. A happy couple for over thirty years, Tom (Broadbent) and Gerri (Sheen) act as a steady anchor to their unmarried circle of family and friends. But as the seasons change and another year passes, Tom and Gerri’s support is put to the test in this masterful look at life, love and the meaning of friendship.

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Director Mike Leigh's gift for finding rich drama and humor in ordinary human lives remains as strong as ever in Another Year. Plot is almost nonexistent: Tom and Gerri (Jim Broadbent and Ruth Sheen), a happy and settled couple, both support and try to fend off the neediness of their less fortunate friends--particularly Mary (Lesley Manville), whose fantasies of romance with Tom and Gerri's son Joe (Oliver Maltman) come crashing down when Joe brings home his new girlfriend Katie (Karina Fernandez). Leigh's ability to draw astoundingly fully realized performances from his superb casts can turn a simple bit of anxious flirting into nerve-wracking comedy, or make the audience feel the cruel sting of a sudden disappointment. Manville (who's appeared in previous Leigh movies, as has most of the cast) turns in a remarkably alive performance, making Mary's yearning and fears almost uncomfortably vivid--but everyone in the cast is thoroughly natural, with the ever-dependable Broadbent (familiar from Moulin Rouge and Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince) and Sheen anchoring the film with a quiet, confident affection. Another Year is a gentle addition to Leigh's oeuvre; it doesn't have the head-to-head conflict of Secrets and Lies or the musical fervor of Topsy-Turvy. This movie's emotions are more rueful and reflective, pondering the nature of contentment. Much as Happy-Go-Lucky questioned the essence of cheerfulness, Another Year asks, What makes one person able to find love, while another flounders? Not a common topic for a movie, but Mike Leigh is not a common filmmaker. --Bret Fetzer

Special Features

Commentary with Director Mike Leigh & Actress Lesley Manville
The Making of Another Year
The Mike Leigh Method

Product Details

  • Actors: Jim Broadbent, Lesley Manville
  • Directors: Mike Leigh
  • Format: Blu-ray
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English, French
  • Dubbed: French
  • Region: Region A/1 (Read more about DVD/Blu-ray formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    PG-13
    Parents Strongly Cautioned
  • Studio: Sony Pictures Classics
  • DVD Release Date: June 7, 2011
  • Run Time: 130 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (78 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B003UESJIS
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #32,588 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Another Year (Two-Disc Blu-ray/DVD Combo)" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Carol M. Shifflett on June 22, 2011
Format: Blu-ray
Tom is a geologist, at the start of the film, checking drill core to ensure strong foundations for coming construction. Gerry is a medical counselor, gently attempting to help her clients tend to their lives. Both are gardeners who know that you can have almost anything you want, provided you plant the seeds and take the time to tend and direct their growth. Their reward is shared time together and a bountiful harvest freely shared with others.

Mary, a middle-aged secretary at Gerry's office, knows none of this.
She repeatedly comments on Tom and Gerry's "luck" but is clueless about its source. She has no interest in others beyond finding the perfect man who will love her and even cook for her. She doesn't cook for herself or others (replacing food with alcohol)and besides, it's so much easier to go home to Tom and Gerry's where she is cared for. She even imagines a romantic relationship with their son, half her age, who she used to babysit, and is shattered (and unspeakably rude) when he brings his girlfriend home to meet the parents.

She buys a wreck of a car imagining that it will make her even more free from responsibility (in this case, train schedules) but has no clue how to care for it or even what its needs might be. At a garden party, where she imagines her mechanical difficulties to be the main topic of interest, she completely fails to notice a co-worker's new baby.

Yes, Mary is unlucky, much like the profoundly depressed insomniac woman at the very beginning of the movie -- who has only two brief appearances. So why is SHE there? Because in another year or two or three, that will be Mary. She is the harvest.

There are no entertaining shoot outs or car chases here, and the only monsters are real ones.
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Format: Blu-ray
If "Another Year" comes off as unsatisfying, perhaps that's a testament to director Mike Leigh's affinity for depicting real life as it naturally unfolds. The movie doesn't have much of a plot, but it does have a strong sense of character, believable dialogue, and a definite theme, namely that life simply goes on. It's about ordinary people with ordinary problems; they may initially seem otherworldly, but they become more real as the film progresses, and by the end, we feel as if we've known them for years. This isn't to suggest that we automatically like all of them. You can understand a person and still think they're better suited in someone else's company. The film doesn't offer a lot in the way of resolution, but then again, neither does life, so I guess there's no sense in complaining.

Taking place in England, the center of the story is Tom and Gerri (Jim Broadbent and Ruth Sheen), and before you ask, yes, they get the occasional joke about how their names are pared. They're in their autumn years and have been married a long time. They're perfectly content; Tom is an engineering geologist, Gerri is a counselor, and after some years of travelling, the two now enjoy gardening and harvesting vegetables. Their thirty-year-old son, Joe (Oliver Maltman), hasn't yet found a girlfriend but is about as content as his parents. They address each other simply and don't seem to have any issues with one another. We follow them through the course of four seasons as they interact with friends and family, who all seem to suffer from some degree of unhappiness.

The most prominent is Gerri's coworker, Mary (Lesley Manville). At first, she's a comical figure, a woman who can't seem to stop talking and always nurses a glass of wine.
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Format: Amazon Video
If you love character films, "Another Year" is the film for you. Granted, even for a British film, it seemed rather slow for most of the first half but I couldn't stop watching---the characters lured me immediately and persistently.

Lesley Manville plays Mary: a very pretty and exceedingly lonely woman who tries painfully hard to create a life for herself. The depths of her despair but valiant effort to be happy is paralleled by her best friend Gerri, played perfectly by Ruth Sheen. Gerri and Mary have worked together for twenty years. Gerri has always initiated kind and regular invitations to Mary to come to dinner.

Gerri and Tom (played by the brilliant Jim Broadbent) have a mature and loving ease to their marriage of so many years. They are solid realists. Their compassion for their friends and family is equal, their acceptance for a broad range of people in their lives is not only notable but admirable. They have a great heart each and melded together as a couple. Mary has had a tough time of it and it is apparent to the audience that she needs Gerri.

As she and Tom have always invited Mary to dinner for twenty years, Mary has also watched their son grow up---who is now thirty and still single. Mary has a gift for "getting ideas" about things that are not always true. She's a bit naive and therefore foolish---yet generally harmlessly so. Until one night....

Mike Leigh (writer/director) carefully develops---no, allows his characters to evolve---through ordinary, daily living that as each character's desires come more into focus, they also come into conflict with the desires of others.
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