DVD High Hopes [DVD] [1900] [Region 1] (DVD 4656647),
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High Hopes [DVD] [1900] [Region 1]

  • PG
  • DVD
  • 1 disc
  • Region 1 USA/CA (info)
  • Director Mike Leigh continues his infatuation with the clashes between families and social classes in late twentieth century London with this touching soap opera. HIGH HOPES weaves left-wing social commentary into a bittersweet comedy about a working-class couple, Cyril (Philip Davis) and Shirley (Ruth Sheen). The film opens with the pair taking in Wayne (Jason Watkins), a stranger who appears to have nowhere else to turn. Gradually, it introduces the rest of Cyril's family--his widowed mother Mrs. Bender (Edna Dore), whining suburban sister Valerie (Heather Tobias), and her unfaithful husband Martin (Philip Jackson)--contrasting them with the Boothe-Braines (Lesley Manville and David Bamber), pretentious yuppies who live next door to Mrs. Bender thanks to gentrification. On Mrs. Bender's birthday, a party at Valerie's brings the family together again, sparking another seemingly endless series of arguments. A sometimes bleak satire, HIGH HOPES raises issues about remaining childless and growing old without a partner, containing a poignant blend of comedy and drama that has become a Leigh trademark. Using his typical improvisational approach in order to create more genuine characterizations, Leigh is able to draw deeply convincing performances from all of his actors--most notably, Davis, Sheen, and Dore.
  • Credits
    Philip Davis, Ruth Sheen, Philip Jackson, Edna Dore
  • Critic Reviews
    Included in the New York Times "10 Best Films of 1989"
    New York Times

    "...HIGH HOPES manages to be enjoyably whimsical without ever losing its cutting edge....[Sheen] is outstanding..."
    New York Times

    "...A prankish paper dart sent buzzing around Thatcher's Britain..."
    Film Comment

    "...Small in scale and lingering in impact. It's lovely the first time, even more so the second, when you've got the knack of its rhythms..."
    Los Angeles Times

    4 stars out of 5 -- "The film that established Mike Leigh as a cinema director is a slice-of-life comedy..."

    4 stars out of 5 -- "Leigh's leads exude rivers of warmth, matched by plotting that shambles towards a genuinely generous emotional peak."
    Total Film

    "[I]t's an enjoyable ride, full of Leigh's trademark comedy of embarrassment..."
    Sight and Sound

    "Leigh's sharp eye for poignant banalities and the skillful intermingling of light and shade keep it real."

    "Disillusioned but never pessimistic, Leigh's snapshot of Thatcher-era England is a small miracle of interpersonal honesty and political acuity."
    Film Comment

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