Another Year

Rated 3.0

A happy middle-aged couple (Jim Broadbent, Ruth Sheen) are forever opening their home to an array of losers—they’re just too tenderhearted to turn them away. British writer-director Mike Leigh produces another of his domestic quasi-melodramas, crafted by his customary method of intense improvisatory work with his actors, followed by a written script filmed with actors who know their roles on an almost subatomic level. Sometimes the result is a wonderful movie; this time the outcome is more uneven, thrown off-balance by Lesley Manville as the biggest loser in Broadbent and Sheen’s orbit. Manville’s character is obnoxious, but so is her performance, which Leigh italicizes with long, pitiless can’t-look-away closeups. Against Manville’s shameless ham, Broadbent and Sheen’s simple subtlety hasn’t a chance.