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There's little wonder in the working-class lives of Bill, Eileen, and their three grown daughters. They're lonely Londoners. Nadia, a cafe waitress, places personal ads, looking for love; Debbie, a single mom, entertains men at the hair salon after hours; her son spends part of the weekend with her ex, a man with a hair-trigger temper. Molly is expecting her first baby and the child's father acts as if the responsibility is too much for him. Eileen is bitter, complaining about her husband and the dog next door; Bill's a doormat. His West Indian neighbor offers him a drink; her own grown son locks himself in his room most of the time. Will anyone connect during this Guy Fawkes weekend?Written by
I caught this on TV without knowing who it was by and I was instantly captivated. The first thing is that it's filmed and set where I live, around the Elephant and Castle, as well as in Soho, and it's about the people I see every day. It's absolutely spot on about the kind of lives people around here lead and the way individuals and different social groups interact.
What lifts it above the sort of social realism common in British cinema is the cutting, the cinematography and Michael Nyman's lovely music, which must be his best work post-Greenaway. While I've never been a big fan of the 'poetry of degradation' school of art, somehow the ugliness and squalor of South East London are transformed by this film and the lives of the characters are invested with real dignity.
Though it may deal with the same sort of subject matter as Ken Loach or Mike Leigh, the style and approach are very different - the difference between a great piece of prose and a poem. I guess you could say Winterbottom and Nyman do for London what Scorsese and Herrmann did for New York in Mean Streets and Taxi Driver.
This is a beautiful film and I feel real gratitude to Michael Winterbottom for bringing our lives to the screen in such a way.
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