Wednesday, 14 October 2015

High Hopes / Grown Ups

Dir: Mike Leigh
Starring: Phil Davis, Ruth Sheen, Lesley Manville
High Hopes Cinematographer: Roger Pratt

"I want love, I want sex, and I want a family." Grown Ups.
Regular NB readers (all three of you) will know that NB is a huge fan of ML (Mike Leigh). The gritty mix of black comedy and drama really hits the spot for NB, and it also provides a nostalgic taste of life in England. With these two films, Leigh shows exactly why that is.

Both films have very similar themes (in fact, almost all non-biopic ML films have similar themes); a financially struggling young couple is pitted psychologically, and possibly physically, against themselves and the rest of the world, while sub-characters create drama and provide added social commentary.

"I just want everyone to have enough
to eat."
High Hopes 
High Hopes is really something special in this regard. The main couple (played to perfection by Phil Davis and Ruth Sheen) are grim and real, but likable. The bizarre series of sub-characters, including the neurotic older sister, a strange guest, a couple of toffs, and Davis' mum, bring the laffs and the drama.

What sets High Hopes apart is the strength of the characters as a combined whole, the believably positive ending, the flawless dialogue, excellent cinematography (from Roger Pratt who would go on to do Harry Potter, among other films) and endearing soundtrack. I can't rate it highly enough.

As with all good Leigh, in both films, Narry watched from the edge of his seat as the unstable characters had meltdowns, laughed from his belly during the moments of slapstick comedy and humorous dialog, and shed several tears at the dramatic finales.

Go watch.

Grown Ups Rating: Top Work
High Hopes Rating: Genius

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