The phrase ‘national treasure’ is, inevitably, an overused one. But Mike Leigh, arguably Britain’s most consistently strong film director of the past 20 years, surely warrants the tag. His latest film, "Another Year", is one of his finest, as Leigh once more draws sensational performances from his cast. The cast features Lesley Manville, Jim Broadbent and Ruth Sheen, and the premise of the film follows a married couple in the later years of their lives. We meet them across the four seasons of one year, and "Another Year" calmly explores the unhappiness, events and people that surround them during that time.
It’s a wonderfully understated piece of work. As is his usual approach, Leigh worked with his cast for months to shape the characters in the film, and they come through as fully three-dimensional human beings. They’re exquisitely played, too, with Broadbent and Manville rightly attracting awards attention for their work here. The hidden star of the piece, though, is Mike Leigh himself. His focused direction, and honest exploration of human lives, shines through once more. And while "Another Year" may not, ultimately, be one of 2010’s most upbeat movies, it’s undoubtedly one of its very best. --"Jon Foster"