Here we continue, what will probably eventually become known as, the ill-fated journey of watching each of the British Film Institute’s 100 best films of the 20th Century. Starting at 100 and working my way to Orson Welles’ The Third Man at number 1. I’ll try to keep these blogs relatively spoiler free and I’ll consider them only a small record of moving through this series.
Before today, the only two Mike Leigh projects I’d watched were the phenomenal Abigail’s Party and 2008’s Happy Go Lucky – both of which I enjoyed immensely. Though I’d been told to watch Secrets & Lies, Naked and, number 95, Life is Sweet, I never took the time. Life is Sweet is at times dramatic, at times mundane, and at times funny. At first I felt I wasn’t going to enjoy it; Alison Steadman’s Wendy was irritating in her laugh and innuendos, Jim Broadbent unbearably optimistic, but it was the performances of Claire Skinner and – especially – Jane Horrocks that sold this story of a North London working class family. It’s certainly a film that will have me investigate more of Leigh’s films and of course, I’ll see Secrets & Lies when I reach number 40.