It is not very often that we have the opportunity to view a film about real people. People with flaws, people who are not movie star handsome, people we know, like our neighbors, our inlaws, our children. Mike Leigh has written and directed this superb film about these people.
Tom, played by Jim Broadbent, and Gerry, played by Ruth Sheen live in North London. They have been married for years, happily married, even. They have a son, Joe, played by oliver Maltman, who loves his parents and seems to be a perfectly normal young man. He is looking for a soulmate and feels the pressure from his parents, at times. Gerry is a therapist. For thirty years she has worked with Mary, superbly played by Lesley Manville, a secretary who has porblems. She wants the perfect man who will never be available, and she drinks too much to get her through her day. She has glammed on to Tom and Gerry. Their home is a warm, inviting place, and they are not judgemental. After a perfectly hideous evening of too much drinking and obvious jealousy of Joe's new girlfriend, Tom says of Mary, "It's Sad" That really says it all. A family funeral portrays a funeral like no other, but does point out the foibles we see in other families, and sometimes our own. All this time, going home to Tom and Gerry's is the best place to be. Tom and Gerry love their friends and family and support them, through thick and thin. We see much of the thin in this film, but that is real life.
Mike Leigh has given us a film where we feel embarrassment, amusement and sadness. This is real life, folks. We all know folks like this and maybe it is us. We are peeking into the lives of people who have foibles and we can learn from their predicaments, and from the manner that Tom and Gerry deal with life and with these folks they welcome into their lives. This is a film that gave me a sense of joy, that good folks like Tom and Gerry abound. Life is not all about the beautiful people making too much money and getting into too much trouble. We are, after all, all too human.
Highly Recommended. prisrob 06-12-11