When it comes to the British writer-director Mike Leigh, my likes and dislikes may strike some as perverse: His most popular films tend to leave me cold. Secrets & Lies (1996) was a Leigh crowd-pleaser, but I found it to be an irritatingly sitcomish, bloke-ified Guess Who's Coming to Dinner. The much-lauded Naked (1993), to me, made nihilism as heavy as an anvil, and though I enjoyed Sally Hawkins' cockeyed-optimist performance in Happy-Go-Lucky (2008), by the time the driving instructor who was obviously a head case was revealed to be a head case, I felt bludgeoned and annoyed. I tend to prefer Leigh's quieter films, like the wily, touching Career Girls (1997). So when I say that I loved Another Year, consider yourself warned: The film has precious little in the way of didactic working-class nobility or cheap gags aimed at the peanut gallery.
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