2010 | 129 min. minutes | Rated PG-13
Tom (Jim Broadbent) and Gerri (Ruth Sheen) are middle aged and married, happily puttering about in a bobo interpretation of marital bliss: evenings spent cooking, gardening on weekends, a glass of wine now and then. Gerri works as a counselor, and the receptionist at her hospital is the twittery, blowsy Mary (Lesley Manville), a woman prone to drink too much at dinner parties and fall asleep in Gerri's guest room. For a while, the friendship unfolds harmlessly: Mary a disorganized, well-meaning mess, Gerri gently humoring her nattering friend, to the quiet dismay of her less-sympathetic husband. But Mary's not as guileless as she initially seems. Her character is a cautionary tale of sorts, a woman clinging unflatteringly to long-gone youth, drinking too much and sobbing about relationships gone wrong, chattering endlessly, ignorant of the irritation and indifference she inspires. Manville's performance is so effective that the audience cringes along with Tom every time she appears, at once a testament to Manville's performance and to the resonance of writer/director Mike Leigh's firm implication that every individual is in charge of their own emotional well being--one can't, like Mary, count on others to provide it.
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