New York Film Festival impressions by
Attending fim festivals, at dinner parties, in bars, or wherever I might be hanging out with fellow cinephiles, the question “What is your favorite movie” inevitably enters the conversation. I always begin the answer with the Mike Leigh film “Secrets & Lies…but in a 5 way tie.” And in the 10 or so years since the last of those 5 films was released I haven’t been able to narrow it down to a smaller number. Occasionally one or two of the films might change. But never “S&L.”
Since 1996, I have seen all of Leigh’s films. I remember being blown away by the performances (Imelda Staunton in “Vera Drake” and Sally Hawkins in “Happy Go Lucky”), but while the films were always very good, none of them gave me the same reaction that I got watching the Purley family unravel when they finally shared their individual secrets and eventually begin to put the pieces back together. That in addition to the brilliant performances of Brenda Blethyn and Marianne Jean-Baptiste made “S&L” a great film. Today I saw Leigh’s latest, “Another Year,” and I am happy to say, Leigh has returned (at least in my eyes) to brilliance.