Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|All Or Nothing |
Actors: Timothy Spall, Lesley Manville, Alison Garland, James Corden, Ruth Sheen
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama
Three-time Oscar®-nominated* writer/director Mike Leigh (Topsy-Turvy, Secrets & Lies) delivers this "rewarding vibrant poetic slice-of-life drama" (Variety) about an ordinary family dealing with the complexities of life an... more »
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Mike Leigh is always interesting
J. C Clark | Overland Park, KS United States | 12/16/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Even when making a film about astonishingly uninteresting people. The lives portrayed here are as going nowhere as lives can possibly be. Yet though bleak, it is not depressing, for it is the response to those circumstances that separate the successful from the failures. Dale Carnegie would be challenged to maintain a positive attitude in this discouraging environment, and yet Leigh once again demonstrates that life is in the control of those who choose to control whatever it is they have to control. The story ostensibly watches the lives of Penny and Phil, moldering in a low-income housing project with individual lives that contain nothing to look forward to and nothing at all to share. Leigh uses some of his favorite actors, the brilliant Lesley Manville (who shone even in the incredibly bright Topsy-Turvy) as Penny, and the most underrated performer around today, Timothy Spall. Penny is a middle-aged mother who is trying to hold up three very heavy lives, and she is crushed by the burden. Bitter and recriminative, she cannot fathom why she has so little. Phil has allowed himself to become an observer to all life, even his own, and in the process finds he too has nothing left. Their two children are fat, lonely, uneducated, and going nowhere. If you knew what was going to happen to you during the day, you wouldn't get up, says Phil. And he doesn't. Until the epiphany that has to save him from the self-destruction rampant around him arrives, and he does indeed start to get up. Like many in the world, Phil is waiting, waiting for salvation to arrive. But only he can create it for himself. And when he does, Penny can join him, and they can look forward with a sense of togetherness.The actors are all brilliant...Leigh seems incapable of filming a boring performance. James Corden, who was hysterical in the never-seen Whatever Happened to Harold Smith? deserves special mention here. His brooding, angry, wastrel is one of the saddest characters I've ever seen. His life is out of control in every way, and he is overwhelmed by his inability to understand why. He has no language skills but is reduced to swearing and punching, yet hits as ineffectually as he speaks. The lost soul is common in Leigh; but no one is more lost than Rory. But he has a loving family to support him. Now he needs to grab his opportunity and make himself something closer to a person.Naked was the story of a man who understood language and used it brilliantly, yet still had a miserable life. But those who cannot speak cannot really think, and the lives of those who cannot think do not make good cinema. There is not quite enough in the interiors of these losers to hold this film together. The overall effect, while poignant, carries less weight than Leigh's great films, Topsy-Turvy, Secrets & Lies and Life Is Sweet. While better than nearly everything out there, the weaknesses and inarticulateness of each character cannot carry the story."
A. Curran | USA | 01/23/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"'All or Nothing' is a fascinating but disturbing portrayal of the lives of struggling working class people in a London tenement. It is a very thought provoking film and may lead to reflecting on your own life and on life in general. As with Mike Leigh's other films this is not very upbeat stuff, in fact this movie is probably more of a downer than the usual from him. The superbly acted characters are real hard luck cases and their lives seem utterly hopeless, so much so that I was expecting someone commit suicide at any moment. But at the same time their story is gripping and so realistic that you feel like a voyeur looking in on them. The ending while not exactly a happy ending provides a slight glimmer of hope but in keeping with the reality of the movie is not overly optimistic. If you like Leigh's other films you will not be disappointed by this one."
And then some.
A. Curran | 03/16/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"*Topsy-Turvy* was apparently an aberration for director Mike Leigh, in terms of its period-setting (i.e., English theater in the time of Gilbert & Sullivan), epic scope, and freedom from sheer bleakness. Well, it's back to basics, here. Leigh's latest, *All or Nothing*, puts us right back into the dreary lower-middle-class setting of contemporary London, where we meet the type of commonplace and yet thoroughly individualized working-class characters that one finds only in Leigh's films, outside of Real Life itself. Leigh is such a master by now that he can create a fully-drawn character, such as the virtually silent and disturbed young man who stalks one of the film's other characters, without hardly a word of spoken dialogue: actions speak louder than. And it's a lucky thing, too, because these people aren't very good with words -- heck, they don't even KNOW that many words. ("F--- off!", for instance, is a sort of utilitarian phrase, loaded with several shades of meaning.) It turns out to be one of the movie's central themes: the inability to communicate, and the damage that can result. But it requires more than a master-director to get us to care about these people; it requires brilliant actors. And we get plenty of those in *All or Nothing*. Lesley Manville and Ruth Sheen deserve extra praise as a pair of housewives trying to hold their respective families together. Manville is saddled with a man who, after 2 decades and 2 kids, still hasn't summoned the gumption to marry her. Her kids, as overweight as their dad, are sullen introverts with no capacity for dealing with the society around them. Manville carries her scrawny frame like a martyr's armor amidst these butterballs, but the endless self-sacrificing doesn't stop her from poisoning her household with nagging spats and guilt-tripping displays of woe. Leigh contrasts this doormat with Ruth Sheen's character, a single mom with a teenage daughter who gets pregnant by an abusive boyfriend. Sheen is functional; she's upbeat in the face of hard knocks; she patiently waits out her daughter's "F--- offs" and prods her into real communication. Their story might not have a happy ending, but it's also likely to avoid tragedy. Love is worth that much. Indeed, Leigh is fairly generous with most of the dozen or so characters in *All or Nothing*: some, of course, are damaged beyond repair; but most are given a second chance at hope. And with hope, perhaps they will learn to strive to better their lives. In sum, this was the best film that England produced in 2002. See it -- it's an overwhelming experience."
Don't like it? go watch legally blonde instead.
nooly | dublin, ireland | 03/22/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"how is "poor people, weak people, unsmart people, unhappy people, unsane people, violent people, fat people, ugly people" like a cliche? if people want 'a smile' there are plenty of (cliched) films out there about rich, talented, beautiful, perfect, boring people to keep you occupied. complaining about directors like mike leigh making films that are too depressing (and they're not, actually, if you pay attention instead of wondering when the fast cars and low-cut dresses are going to come in) is missing the point by so far i wonder how people who do it ended up at the film in the first place. did you get lost on the way to disneyland?"