Bleak Moments

  • Film
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A long, brooding and often painfully funny film, this depicts the interacting lives of sad, lonely people: a secretary in her late twenties stuck at home with sherry, paperbacks and a mentally-retarded older sister; her prematurely spinsterish workmate similarly imprisoned with a cadaverous hollow-cheeked mother (Smith again splendid); a shy schoolmaster and a folk-minded stumblebum hippy (Mike Bradwell), all drifting between repression and loneliness as the action shifts from drawing-room to garage, to classroom, to a restaurant complete with one of the world’s most truculent waiters. Seeing this film after so long one is struck yet again by the enormous honesty, intelligence and compassion of Leigh’s work which may explain why despite its occasional awkwardness and refusal to compromise he has such a large and devoted following. Raitt and Joolie Cappleman as the pitiable typists stand out with Smith in a fine cast set in the clear, calm Eastman sea of Leigh’s cinematic imagination.

Release details

Duration: 111 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Mike Leigh
Screenwriter: Mike Leigh
Cast: Anne Raitt
Sarah Stephenson
Eric Allan
Joolia Cappleman
Mike Bradwell
Linda Beckett
Liz Smith
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