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Another Year June 12, 2011

Posted by nrhatch in Books & Movies, Gratitude, Humor, People.

Another Year, directed by Mike Leigh, offers little in the way of plot ~ except for a small garden plot tended in each of the four seasons.   Instead, the film, a fascinating and ably acted character study, reveals how our personalities make us . . . or break us.

Tom & Gerri, long time partners, allow life to flow through and around them, not getting caught up in the emotional baggage of others.  Their son, Joe, rolls with the punches and accepts life’s ups and down with deadpan calm. 

In contrast, Gerri’s co-worker and long-time friend, Mary, a middle-aged,  mixed-up, muddled-up mess, becomes increasingly morose, isolated, and dysfunctional as the film progresses.  Like Mary, Tom’s childhood friend, Ken, is  a self-proclaimed “victim of life” ~ unhappy, but unwilling to make changes that might alleviate his chronic depression and dissatisfaction. 

Tom’s older brother, Ronnie, another “sad sack,” expects negatives to be tossed into his life cart, viewing life as something to be endured, rather than enjoyed.   Ronnie’s son, Carl, another victim, is filled with rage, blaming the world for his troubles ~ always pointing fingers “out there” at others rather than taking a good hard look within himself.

And, then, there’s Katie, Joe’s girlfriend, an effervescent and kinetic kangaroo who deals with all the Eeyores by remaining as upbeat as a Tigger on steroids. 

Boing . . . boing . . . boing!

As the seasons change from Spring to Summer to Autumn to Winter, we see subtle changes in the characters and their inter-relationships.

The Tiggers continue to thrive . . . while the Eeyores barely survive.

None of us know how much time we have left.  Any of us could be hit by a bus tomorrow.   

Why not make the most of this moment???  

No rules.  Just write!

Related posts:  The Last Lecture * 25 Simple Ways To Enjoy The JourneyDon’t Bring Me Down * Happiness Resides Within


1. granny1947 - June 12, 2011

Live for the moment…the only way to do it!

nrhatch - June 12, 2011

I agree completely, Granny!

When we stop carting around our “wheelbarrow of woe” (filled with various and sundry hurts and disappointments from the past), we have far more energy to enjoy the gift of the present . . . right here, right now.

2. Joanne - June 12, 2011

I’ve got to see this one…!

I’ve finally come to that place where nothing else seems more important than what’s happening in this moment ~ at least that’s how I feel right now in THIS moment 😀

nrhatch - June 12, 2011

Same here! When we fret about regrets and worry about how the future may unfold, we create unnecessary suffering.

When we wake up each morning determined to enjoy what we do, we win. No matter what happens, we win.

3. kateshrewsday - June 12, 2011

I love Mike Leigh….searingly accurate. Remember Abigail’s Party? And Nuts in May? This is a wonderful heads-up, Nancy, I’ll try and see it as soon as I can…

nrhatch - June 12, 2011

I found the movie strangely soothing and satisfying. At first, I wondered why Gerri and Tom (G&T) surrounded themselves with so many needy and demanding “misfits.” Surely, they could find “better” friends?

In time, I realized that G&T were willing to “be there” for their hopeless and “helpless” friends because they were secure in their own lives:

* G&T knew NOT to waste time trying to change their friends
* G&T accepted their life-sucking and energy-draining friends “as is”
* G&T tossed out “lifelines” to avoid getting dragged under by their friends’ emotional baggage

And time continued to flow from one season to the next.

4. clarbojahn - June 12, 2011

I’ am movie illiterate since I don’t go to the theater often to see a movie. In fact our queue at Netflix is long because we only have time to see one movie a week. We’re just so busy on the internet and working on our hobbies that movie watching has taken a back seat. However this movie sounds like it should go to the top of the netfix queue as soon as it becomes available.

nrhatch - June 12, 2011

We get 2 movies a week from Netflix and NEVER go to the movies. I got Another Year from Netflix ~ released earlier this week.

5. Christine Grote - June 12, 2011

I like character studies.

nrhatch - June 12, 2011

These characters are internally consistent ~ watching the interplay between them is a “slice of life.”

6. adeeyoyo - June 13, 2011

That is indeed the way to go in order to survive relatively unscathed.

nrhatch - June 13, 2011

I believe that positives attract positives and that negatives attract negatives.

If we wander through life, happy and smiling, people are more inclined to react positively to us . . . which makes us even happier, causing us to smile more.

Likewise, if we wander around with a scowl on our face, people are less inclined to interact with us . . . which substantiates our belief that people don’t like us, causes us to scowl more. Grr . . .

Life is rather a self-fulfilling prophecy at times.

7. libraryscene - June 13, 2011

Uh -oh, I’m a Mary, or erm, Eeyore if you like, but my secret theme song is, I’ll survive (smiles). Just ordered this for the library last week, can’t wait to watch, thanks for the review ~

nrhatch - June 13, 2011

I expect that watching it will convince you that you are NOT Mary. She’s a mixed up, muddled up, mess. 😛

8. ElizOF - June 13, 2011

Sounds like a movie we should all see… and like a familiar one I saw in the past on gardening and philosophy… Will remember and share. TY! 🙂

nrhatch - June 13, 2011

Are you thinking of Being There . . . with Peter Sellers?

9. earlybird - June 13, 2011

I’m afraid I normally find Mike Leigh a bit too grim but maybe I could handle this one if you say it’s ‘gentle’ 🙂

nrhatch - June 13, 2011

It’s called a “dramedy” . . . but it leaned more to drama than comedy. It’s not a terrible uplifting or exciting film, but it does make you wonder and ponder a bit.

Definitely not for everyone. BFF left halfway through because he found it too depressing.

10. souldipper - June 13, 2011

Looks like a great movie – thanks for the head’s up, Nance. I love movies full of characters, interplay, innuendo, etc. *Off to find the movie as a reward for mowing the lawn.* (That includes popcorn!)

nrhatch - June 13, 2011

Ooh . . . movie and popcorn! That sounds like a grand reward for lawn mowing. 😀

souldipper - June 13, 2011

Aha – I have it in my hot little clutches. I bet this will keep me occupied!

nrhatch - June 13, 2011

Wow! That was fast. You don’t mess around, do you? 😀

11. souldipper - June 14, 2011

As I thought – I enjoyed the characterization, the innuendo, the slight grimaces, quick glances…all of it. As you said, the plot’s thin, but it’s meant to be about humanity – in all its glory. It was a challenge to sit silent through some of the shenanigans. If one is not keen on observing human nature, I can see how it would be perceived a downer.

The character Mary superbly portrayed the person who believes she’s fooling everyone while she is so sadly, but touchingly, transparent.

I was left with a reminder. Many in the world are so busy wallowing in their misery that they won’t look at their truth.

Good character study, Nancy.

nrhatch - June 14, 2011

Wonderful summary, Amy. You’ve hit the nail on the head.

When we focus solely on ourselves, especially the “negatives” in our lives, we become self-conscious and believe that every one else is focused on us too. And they aren’t . . . at least not most of the time.

Mary and Ken are their own worst enemies ~ constantly comparing their lives with others and focusing on what they do NOT have, rather than focusing on what they do have and allowing that gratitude to re-fill and re-fuel their enthusiasm for life.

12. souldipper - June 16, 2011

I just watched “Fair Game” for the first time. I hardly paid attention when this incident with Valerie Plame was in the news, but this was another good character film.

nrhatch - June 16, 2011

Thanks, I’ll check it out.

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