Do you fear growing old alone? Envying those who have spouses or partners. Always the third wheel. Immensely trying to look at the bright side of things, but at the end of the day the smile turns into a frown when you get into bed and you have no one to hug but an extra pillow.
Loneliness is Mary, the character played by Lesley Manville in Mike Leigh’s entry to the 2010 Cannes Film Festival. You see in her face how the world has been cruel to her. Her quiet desperation to get herself a man. Her disappointment and bitterness and sadness on an unrequited flirting.
Loneliness is not all there is to it in the film. There is happiness and contentment too in the faces of a middle-aged couple played with such loving simplicity by Jim Broadbent and Ruth Sheen. You feel their bond strengthened by decades of companionship – in their simple dinners, in their weekend trips growing tomatoes, and sweet banters.
Another Year unabashedly depicts the wonders and fears that await old age. It mirrors our lifelong pursuit for happiness. It is one of those films that becomes great for its sheer simplicity and bluntness.