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“I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances,” wrote St Paul to the Church in Philippi, while he was imprisoned for preaching the “joyful” news of living through Christ.
Paul discovered contentment in God’s atoning son yet no such attitude is apparent in the obsessive, depressive shape of Mary (Lesley Manville), the most memorable character in this heartbreaking British drama.
Expertly performed and crafted, Another Year starkly portrays the divide between a happily married couple (played by Ruth Sheen and Moulin Rouge’s Jim Broadbent), and their self-destructive, discontented friends.
On the surface, the latest domestic observance by esteemed director Mike Leigh (Secrets and Lies) seems only to be about gardening, cups of tea, Sunday dinners and gumboots. But the sobering wallop of manic Mary’s desperate loneliness should hit you where you live.
Without being obvious or ostentatious, Leigh’s engrossing snapshot of contrasting lives will make you reflect upon where we find meaning in life.
Everything Mary craves and what she does to fill her purposeless existence has nothing to do with the grounded hope Paul writes about in Philippians (and other New Testament letters).
Do you have Paul’s unwavering contentment, or Mary’s perpetuated sadness?
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