Mike Leigh was born on February 20, 1943 in Salford, Greater Manchester, England. He is a director and writer, known for
High Hopes (1988), Life Is Sweet (1980), Secret and Lies (1996), Career Girls (1997), Happy Go Lucky (2008), and Another Year (2010)
Children are seldom seen in the cinema of Mike Leigh. This absence is doubtless due to the strictures of the director’s character- and story-building methods, which might make the participation of child actors in Leighland rather problematic. In fact, the only notable child protagonist in Leigh’s cinema is Charlie (Charlie Difford), Poppy’s student in Happy-Go-Lucky (2008), and even here the boy’s problems are merely used as a plot device to bring together the heroine and a social worker love interest. Though the issue is sometimes thematised in Leigh’s portraits of couples who are unable to conceive, the absence of children can seem a significant blind spot in films that clearly aspire to the presentation of full, detailed, realistically depicted social worlds.
Sally Hawkins is currently at the top of Gold Derby’s Best Actress Oscar predictions for her role in Guillermo Del Toro‘s film “The Shape of Water.” The movie from the director of “Pan’s Labyrinth” tells the story of a mute young woman working as a janitor. Should Hawkins succeed in getting a nomination for this film, it wouldn’t be the first time that an actor has been nominated or even in some cases won an Oscar for a role in which they didn’t speak, or spoke very little. In the above photo gallery, Gold Derby looks back on 10 actors who have earned Academy Awards attention for such roles. Will Hawkins join this list?
Sweet isn’t the right word; in Mike Leigh’s 1990 film, life is unfair, frustrating and confusing by turns. Though, despite the darkness, Life Is Sweet exudes positivity and remains one of Leigh’s funniest, most quotable features.Many of the best lines are mumbled by Timothy Spall’s grotesque would-be restauranteur Aubrey, especially when he’s talking us through the menu for his Edith Piaf-themed restaurant. Anyone for prune quiche? Saveloy on a bed of lychees? Or liver in lager? Spall here is a brilliant physical comedian, whether he’s capsizing a caravan or tumbling off an expensive orthopaedic bed. And our final glimpse of him, semi-conscious on the restaurant floor clad in stripey-fronts, is difficult to forget [ . . . ]
Tom Jolliffe takes a look back at Mike Leigh’s 1993 film, Naked
The other day I attended a special screening at The Prince Charles Cinema in London.
It was part of a specially curated selection of films (from NFTS) devoted to the vile and unlikeable. The first film of the series was Mike Leigh’s 1993 masterpiece, Naked. Leigh was there himself to introduce the film. It was a passing gesture more than anything, as I always feel of the self-effacing Leigh, that blowing one’s own trumpet isn’t his bag.